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Oct 2020 Paid Advertising Roundup from Mabo: New in Google Ads & Facebook

Artificial intelligence is bringing about a golden age of technological divination, opening up insights that predict futures and trends that shape the market. Advanced machine learning models change the way we work, always learning and adapting, providing us with an accurate array of digestible data. The latest features from this month include new tools to give advertisers the ability to tap into that unrelenting power.

1. Google Ads

1.1 – Google Insights Page & Performance Max Bidding

Google’s announced two additions to the Ads platform in their recent Advertising Week roundup. The Insights page, which initially will be available as a beta, will prove key trends and account information to help accounts push in those areas. It may show an interest in a certain product range, or forecast future growth opportunities which you will be able to optimize towards. It goes without saying just how incredibly useful this feature will be, allowing you to catch the latest trends in time and build your strategy around them.

Performance Max campaigns will serve as an addition to Search campaigns, helping find the signals that ultimately lead to a conversion. They will allow you to focus on several goals such as new customer acquisitions which will give the option to assign additional conversion value, calculated from the potential future revenue. However you intend to choose your goals and accompanying value, we’re receiving yet another tool to expand our already diverse toolkit.

1.2 – Data-Driven Attribution Changes

Attribution modeling has always been a hugely important part of accounts, and getting the right model can play a huge role in an account’s performance. The Data-Driven model is excellent as it’s unique to each account, using advanced learning to find the ads which had the highest impact for each conversion.

Fortunately, the data requirements for an account to be eligible for data-driven attribution have reduced to a minimum of 3,000 ad interactions and at least 300 conversions in the past 30 days; that’s down from 15,000 ad interactions and 600 conversion events in the past 30 days. Google have updated their support article with these changes.

In addition to this change, Youtube metrics have now been included in attribution reports so that you can see how much video metrics play a part in conversions, further expanding opportunities for advertisers. This is currently in beta so you’ll have to opt in to take advantage and to put the cherry on top, Google have mentioned that they’ve got plans to include Display ads in the upcoming months.

1.3 – Google Local Services Ads Now Available In Europe

Google introduced Google Local Services Ads a while ago, allowing users to find local businesses, book appointments & more. These ads initially came to US & Canadian audiences however they’ve recently expanded to include a host of European countries including the UK, France & Germany. With a focus on home service industries, such as plumbing or electricians, these unique ads are ideal for lead generation with the added ‘Google Guaranteed’ bonus.

1.4 – Google Analytics 4

The new update for Google Analytics utilizes the same machine learning, which has successfully powered the Ads platform, provides smarter data insights to push for success. Similar to the Insights page for Ads, these new insights can give access to current trends and user demand, alongside predictive metrics that can project the amount of revenue a group of customers can bring, producing new opportunities for custom audiences. It will also give deeper access to a customer’s journey, how they discovered your brand and how they engage with your content. It’s safe to say these new features, which require you need to create a new view to access, will be pivotal to anyone wanting to analyze their traffic.

2. Facebook & Instagram

2.1 – Facebook Attribution Window Changes

Due to changes in digital privacy, Facebook will be removing the 28-day attribution window option and will instead offer a 7-day window, which they claim is a more sustainable measurement strategy. We can’t stress just how necessary data is for advertising so it’s disheartening news to hear. These changes came into effect from the 12th of October; however, any historical account data will remain. During this transition, you may find your reports showing a downturn in performance, although it’s important to note that this may likely be down to how results are measured.

2.2 – Facebook’s New Language Model

The team behind Facebook’s incredible AI have announced significant changes to the way language is processed, moving forward to their multilingual machine translation model (MMT). Whereas before, the translation model used English as the connective language due to the extent of English data that’s available. The new model, named M2M-100, cuts out the English connection allowing for 2,200 language directions improving how the meaning of the original text is conveyed. This change brings for more accurate translations with a model that’s continually improving in a world that’s getting closer every day.

October’s Attribution To Success

This month’s changes seem to be heavily focused on attribution changes with Google now including Youtube into attribution reports and reducing the limitations for accounts to take on the data-driven model. To contrast that, Facebook have reduced their attribution window from 28 to 7 days but have at least updated their ad policies allowing for more lenient creatives. Finally, Google Analytics has seen a new update to bring in advanced machine learning features, a massive benefit to all platforms.

For more information on Mabo and their paid advertising management services, please visit Mabo.co.uk.

Sep 2020 Paid Advertising Roundup from Mabo: Google Limits Search Terms & More

As we come to the end of Q3, preparations are underway to take advantage of the seasonal peaks to maximize on this upcoming potential. The ability to access a monumental amount of data is our biggest ally in the battle for profitability. New updates can come as a rallying cry of innovation or a new hurdle to surpass; the way we react to these changes can be a defining attribute for any advertiser.

1. Google Ads

1.1 – Google Reducing Visibility For Search Terms

In a heavily disputed move, Google announced on the Ads platform that they will start hiding low-traffic search terms, only showing high-traffic results. To confirm, even if that term received a click, it might not show up.

Data is king in this industry, whatever the amount, so this move has received some rather negative feedback. According to Google, this is a move to support privacy and protect user data, which seems slightly hypocritical considering how many user signals are tracked and used for smart bidding.

1.2 – In-Market Audiences Available for Shopping Campaigns

Google’s latest CSS newsletter has announced that in-market audiences have officially been launched for Shopping campaigns, a hugely welcome feature for many of us. With smart bidding taking away a lot of optimization opportunities, audiences are now more critical than ever given that you can still enhance your smart bidding through adjustments. Additional audiences bring more options for you to optimize your bidding, allowing you to utilize that data tweak your bidding on a more granular level.

1.3 – Create Rules More Efficiently In Merchant Center

Feed rules have become even easier to do in the Merchant Center. You can add multiple words and phrases within a single rule with new options giving access to ‘any of’ variants, such as ‘contains any of’. Gone are the days of arduously creating a rule for each query to action on; quality-of-life improvements like these are a real step forward for user efficiency.

2. Microsoft Ads

2.1 – Dynamic Remarketing & More

One of the best additions this month comes from Microsoft, giving us a huge boost just in time for the holiday season with some powerful audience features.

Dynamic Remarketing is now accessible for advertisers, allowing you to target your audience with the very products they’ve been viewing; a perfect fit for Black Friday, Christmas and more. Go one step further with LinkedIn Profile Targeting, giving you a unique approach to create custom audiences based on a user’s company, job function and industry.

Finally, in-market audiences are now available for both France and Germany.

3. The Digital Services Tax (gov.uk publication)

3.1 – Google Parrying the New Tax

Google’s answer to tackling the new DST fees is one that’s come with shock, with them imposing the tax onto the advertiser’s bill as a percentage of spend. Initially affecting the UK, Austria and Turkey, the fees will start as of November 1 with a straight 2% of a UK account’s monthly spend being added onto the bill, rising to 5% for Austria & Turkey accounts.

Although this fee impacts all businesses, it does seem exceptionally harsh to SMEs, having just dealt with the economic repercussions of lockdown.

3.2 – Amazon Following Suit

Amazon has followed the same approach as Google by forwarding the new tax onto its sellers, their justification being that they absorbed the DST whilst the legislation was in the process of being passed. The fees for Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) will increase by 2% as of September 1 and 15, respectively.

3.3 – Facebook’s Heroic Response

Facebook has a history of sour representation given David Fincher’s powerful 2010 drama and congressional hearing that sprouted several unflattering memes. Yet in an inspiring move, they have announced their intention to absorb the new tax so that it’s not passed onto sellers.

We’re seeing a rare glimpse of ethical responsibility coming from Facebook in a bold act that will surely improve their image.

A Controversial September

This September is one that advertisers may hope to forget. Despite Google bringing some practical updates, they’ve also included some revisions which are arguably more detrimental to the ads platform. Amazon continues to be frugal and Facebook is taking an unexpected moral high ground, though we’re yet to hear any official word from Microsoft.

Unlike the last two months showering us with utility updates, this month hasn’t been half as fruitful.

For more information on Mabo and their paid advertising management services, please visit Mabo.co.uk.

Omnisend’s 8 Best Practices for Shopify App Advertising in 2020

Among the main contributors to Shopify’s growth are the multitude of apps available on its platform. Indeed, some of the top Shopify apps make it easier to develop, grow, and maintain online businesses. But how do you use them to advertise your e-commerce store and grow your revenues in today’s business environment? Here are some of the best practices you should employ this year:

1. Prioritize personalization.

Source: https://apps.shopify.com/omnisend

It’s critical for today’s consumer to feel a connection with the brands that they patronize. So, whenever you reach out to your customers, make sure that it’s with a highly relevant message.

There are apps that seamlessly plug into your Shopify store that give you incredible personalization options. Such software allow you to segment your subscriber base in great detail in order to reach out to them with highly converting messages. With the right tool, you’ll be able to target your customers not merely based on their profile data but also their specific activities or shopping behaviors.

2. Focus on customer retention.

Source: https://apps.shopify.com/swell

Acquiring customers is much more expensive than retaining the ones you already have. Plus, it has a greater impact on your bottomline. In fact, even a 5% increase in your customer retention rate can boost your profits by up to 95%.

One of the best ways to cultivate customer loyalty is to maintain a compelling rewards program. By rewarding your customers for every interaction with your brand, you’ll easily boost repeat purchases and strengthen relationships with your customers. All it takes is finding the best Shopify app to integrate into your store.

3. Recover abandoned carts.

Source: https://www.invespcro.com/blog/the-top-7-reasons-for-shopping-cart-abandonment-tips-for-avoiding-them/

About 7 out of 10 of shoppers on your store will fill up their carts without checking out. Often, that happens either because of unexpected shipping costs or they’re simply not yet ready to purchase. But no matter the reason, it pays to lure these shoppers back in.

Some Shopify apps allow you to build automation workflows that identify cart abandoners and re-engage them through personalized and targeted messages. This allows you to revive what would have already been lost sales. You can also recover abandoned carts by setting up exit-intent pop-ups as well as retargeting ads.

4. Engage in retargeting.

Source: https://www.business2community.com/marketing/17-retargeting-ad-statistics-will-make-retarget-right-now-2-infographics-01464774

Retargeting can be useful not just for cart abandoners but also for window shoppers, which are common even in e-commerce. The good news is that there are digital tools that allow you several chances to convert online window shoppers into actual paying customers. This makes a significant impact on your revenues, as window shoppers are 70% more likely to convert with retargeting.

With Shopify apps, you can easily run retargeting campaigns on sites like Facebook, Google, and their properties (e.g. Instagram, Youtube, and Gmail). These allow you to integrate your shop data and manage your entire marketing strategy on a single platform and drive traffic to your Shopify store.

Source: https://sixads.net/blog/shopify-traffic-channels-generating-sales/

5. Optimize for mobile.

Source: https://apps.shopify.com/shopney-mobile-app

Transactions on mobile devices are expected to make up at least 50% of all ecommerce sales. So, it’s essential that you have a platform that’s optimized for the mobile audience. That means making sure you have an incredibly responsive website. Or, if it makes sense for your business, you can build your own native app.

Mobile app builders on Shopify make creating your own native mobile app remarkably easy. These software don’t just make it easy to develop your brand’s ecommerce app but also provides everything you need to offer a good mobile customer experience. Typically, that includes features like simplified checkout process, in-app messaging, and rich push notifications. When you are planning to improve your ecommerce business, mobile should be on priority list.

6. Make the most of social proof.

Source: https://apps.shopify.com/loox

User reviews are valued by 88% of shoppers just as much as personal recommendations. Given this, it pays to use the reviews you already have not only on your social media pages but also everywhere else you can manage. These are especially valuable on your product pages.

Shopfiy apps allow you to easily integrate social proof like user photos and product reviews onto your product pages. By using these apps, you make your web visitors more likely to complete a purchase.

7. Produce interactive content.

Source: https://apps.shopify.com/pickzen

Interactive content like quizzes and questionnaires is one of the most effective lead magnets for retail websites. This advertising tactic has an average lead capture rate of 31.6%.

Apart from engaging quizzes, among the best ways to use this tool is to produce questionnaires that lead to highly relevant product recommendations. Shopify apps don’t just make it easier for you to create these interactive content but also capture data and gather insights from your users.

8. Host engaging contests.

Source: https://apps.shopify.com/gleam

A chance at winning enticing prizes can be an excellent motivation for your customer to help you grow your audience and boost your brand’s popularity. If planned correctly, hosting contests can also be a cost-effective advertising tactic.

Today, there are Shopify apps that allow you to easily create online competitions or giveaways. These tools provide everything you need not just to develop and run your contests but also to pick winners, verify entries, and capture data.

Conclusion

Shopify has enabled hundreds of thousands of businesses to reach online audiences. Its success as an ecommerce platform is undoubtedly driven by its versatility. It is simple enough for novices to navigate but also dynamic enough for experienced digital retailers to get exactly what they need.

But to really make the most out of the platform, you should learn to identify the best Shopify apps to support your business. Take advantage of them to advertise your shop, grow your audience, and nurture your customers. Consequently, you’ll enjoy incredible revenue growth as well as a stellar brand reputation.

Two Sides of an e-Commerce Coin: The Stay-at-Home CPC Experiment

When it comes to my clients, I have noticed a clear distinction between the winners and losers of e-commerce during this crisis.

The changes in the consumer landscape, as a result of the Coronavirus, are affecting different industries in seemingly polar opposite ways. The current state of commerce can be either a major advantage or disadvantage for performance, depending on industry and business model.

While e-tailers are quickly adjusting strategies to deal with the current environment, the major players in the advertising space are also changing the rules. Both Amazon and Google have made strategic changes to their advertising models, changing the game for everyone.

The majority of businesses I support are in the retail industry, split among e-commerce retailers, manufacturers and lifestyle brands. I have noticed a major divergence across these categories in terms of direct-to-consumer PPC performance.

The customers I would classify in the manufacturing and lifestyle brand category have struggled with reduced search volumes and lower conversion rates. These brands often have a strong DTC presence, but direct-to-consumer isn’t their primary channel of distribution.

The biggest challenge that these brands face is that they do not have the breadth of incoming search traffic the pure-play retailer group enjoys. A large portion of their incoming traffic is tied to high-intent brand queries, and many categories have seen these types of queries drop dramatically when brand and related search phrases are not as well aligned with the stay-at-home lifestyle.

In order to make up for the short-term headwinds, these brands have had to increase short-term promotional activity as well as shift more advertising dollars from a bottom-of-funnel strategy to a full-funnel or mid-funnel strategy, which traditionally require that they accept a lower direct ROI on ad spend.

The good news is that in most cases, the traffic for these branded queries bottomed out in mid-March or early April and have shown consistent growth over the past several weeks. There is some reason to believe that some of the changes in search behavior will return to normal over the next several months.

On the other side of the ‘consumer behavior coin’ are e-commerce retailers I would classify as pure-play in the DIY, Hobby, Home Improvement and Gardening categories. The retailers I support in these categories have benefited from what has been called an “8-week-long Cyber Monday event”.

Transactions and revenue have rocketed to all-time highs, with a steady drumbeat of daily traffic up an average of 100% or more. This jump in traffic hasn’t all been roses, of course, as supply chain capacity has been drastically impacted by stay-at-home orders across the country and internationally.

Increased demand, combined with a less-than-fully-functioning supply chain has impacted stock rates and delivery times, putting a strain on e-tailers.

While the lift in transactions, clicks and revenue can be compared similarly to an extended Cyber Monday event, the change in average CPC is nothing like what we traditionally see during high-demand times.

During holidays, we typically see an increase in average CPC across the board, as the PPC landscape becomes more competitive. Currently, however, the pure-play e-commerce companies I support have seen a drastic drop in CPC.

During the most recent two weeks, these e-commerce companies have seen a drop in average CPC of 37%, with a median drop of 47%. This drop in average CPC, coupled with increased clicks and conversion, has increased ROI by as much as 300% for these companies.

Tip from Wes: If you haven’t yet, I suggest you start testing aggressive CPC changes immediately. If you are concerned about decreasing your site traffic, I suggest using the Optmyzr Rule Engine and set a rule that looks at clicks for rolling seven-day periods. If the clicks for the campaigns you are testing fall below a threshold, you can set your rule to update the bids accordingly.

The drop in CPC has of course been a managed adjustment but has not experienced the expected negative impact on clicks. In fact, the CPC to Click correlation is drastically less elastic than we have seen traditionally. I strongly suspect this is primarily due to a reduction in spending by competitors, with a change in Amazon’s advertising behavior having the most impact across the landscape for these companies.

This suspicion is supported by the data available in the Google Ads Auction Insight tool.

Whereas Amazon typically enjoys between 30-60% impression share in these industries, over the past two months Amazon has dropped off the board completely. This makes sense, as Amazon has also seen both increased order volume and distribution constraints, requiring them to focus on ‘essential services’. It makes complete sense that they would cut ad spending right now.

How long this ‘new normal’ will last is anyone’s guess, but recent changes to the Google Shopping platform suggest that Google is taking the change seriously. The drop in PPC advertisers combined with the increased search volume Amazon is enjoying has pushed Google to institute a more aggressive approach to fill its search listings.

Google recently announced that it would be opening up its shopping platform results, making the results presented on the Google Shopping tab free. While many of the high-volume placements (such as product carousels) will still be paid placements, Google will now be allowing anyone with a qualifying merchant center account to list products.

It will be very interesting to see how the next few months play out.

There are a lot of questions yet to be answered, but if we know anything for sure, it is that things are unlikely to go back to ‘normal’ anytime soon.

This article is a guest post by a representative from one of Optmyzr’s customers. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Optmyzr and its employees.

Customer Journey Mapping: The Real PPC Marketing Funnel

In paid search marketing, we consistently see marketers talk about the different levels of the marketing funnel: awareness, consideration, decision, or, top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and the bottom of the funnel. 

Unfortunately, this way of thinking is most of the time inaccurate.

The issue with the process is that the consumer’s buyer journey is not linear. If anything, people bounce back-and-forth from awareness to consideration multiple times before coming close to a final decision, especially as we enter uncharted waters during the changes in our world. 

To better grasp customer journeys, map out the actions, motivations, emotions, and thoughts of the user. What key messages need to be given to the user to get them to take action? 

What PPC insights can we use to help them get there?

This thought process has further implications for how we create ads and how we nurture potential advocates of our brands and products. Let’s dive in.

Why are linear funnels wrong?

Can you think about a time when you were looking to solve a problem and you took a route like the one in the image above? I sure can’t.

Decision-making is a roller coaster of decisions and emotions. 

For marketers to fully connect with users at scale and sell them their products at the right point in time, it’s critical to understand these decisions at every stage of the customer journey. 

How are marketers getting it wrong?

It is less about how marketers are getting it wrong, but more about how marketers may be missing a necessary step in their advertising efforts. 

If you do not comprehend your target audience’s journey, then you will miss out on potential customers down the road.

So, what is a customer journey map?

A customer journey map is a visualization of every step a potential customer takes in completing a desired action with your company. 

Customer journey maps allow you to pinpoint exactly where you need to interact with potential customers to ensure that they are aware of your brand — at every step of the marketing funnel.

Why is this critical?

Customer journey mapping allows the full understanding of customer interactions with a business. Take important events, actions, motivations, emotions, thoughts, messages, and pain points, and create a comprehensive visual that connects all of them together rather than one standard method, as shown above.

Think of customer journey mapping as a relationship development tool: how do you learn about your target customer and ensure that you know everything about them to make them feel safe by choosing your business?

Understanding your customer journey

To fully grasp your customers’ journeys through the buyer cycle, especially in these times of unforeseen crisis, you must understand specific interests and qualities about them. 

There are various ways to work through these questions and identify all gaps in the necessary information to effectively market to the right audience at the right time. 

Let’s lay some groundwork

Before you begin, get organized, and set your objectives. What are you trying to accomplish? 

These objectives should take into account several different things:

Once you have gathered these lists of questions, create goals shaped around them.

Ultimately, you will take these questions and apply them to the next step: creating the target audience personas.

By gathering deep insights into your objectives, you can better understand goal setting in the future.

Target persona set-up

Target personas are outlines or breakdowns of realistic versions of your ideal customers.

To successfully create target personas, understand the basics of what drives that target audience to your website, including:

Get creative with obtaining this kind of information through various analytics platforms such as Instagram Analytics or Google Analytics. There are surveying tools you can use to send basic informational surveys to your current customer base such as SurveyMonkey or Qualtrics

You can find more information about personas in this article.

For a basic example, if you run a cloud operations company whose target audience is chief technology officers for enterprise businesses, your target persona may be as follows:

Breaking down potential next steps

Once you identify a few target personas, break down each step, based on their actions and motivations, emotions and thoughts, key messages, and funnel conversions.

Actions and motivations

As we previously discussed in creating target personas, the actions and motivations are what make up every step of the customer journey. 

Once you have compiled a group of potential actions and motivations for a customer to take different steps with your company, list them out in the order of least to most likely to make a purchasing decision.

For example, if you sell software and determine that your audience is motivated by price and ease of integration into their current operations, mark those as most likely.

If you have also found that some customers learn about your brand through education revolving around your software’s functionality, then you would mark that as least likely.

Emotions and thoughts

Next, place-specific emotions and thoughts that could influence one to hop from one action to another. This is our first step at trying to place specific emotions to specific actions.

For example, someone who is frustrated with the lack of a comprehensive solution (emotion/thought) may take action to learn more about your company’s solution that fits their needs (actions and motivations).

Key messages

Next, determine what key messages you need to place that align with your potential customer’s emotions and thoughts. 

These messages need to be action-inducing! Even further, incorporate your business’s unique value propositions and stand out in comparison to your competitors. 

For example, a call-to-action supporting our target persona’s actions and emotions is “Learn for free how our comprehensive solution will improve operational efficiency”. Make it specific. Help them solve a problem. 

Funnel steps and conversion points

Next, identify different points of the sales funnel where your audience can take action (either on your website or as a part of your sales and marketing efforts). 

How are you going to get them to convert?

Take this opportunity to identify your most effective conversion points. For example, if you only use sales-heavy language, you may miss out on nurturing leads who may be weary to commit to a sale at that current moment.

Create gated content or even an email subscription sign up that gathers their information and keeps them engaged with your brand. 

See below:

How do marketers react to the current environment

Right now, especially during the economic downturn, users might have different reasons they are buying — or not buying at all. 

With economic uncertainty, the buying process is more thought out and conservative. By matching your advertising intent with that knowledge and being aware of specific user motivations, you can build deeper connections and improve sales. 

With that being said, be empathetic and remember you’re speaking to humans. The messages you portray to your audience should match real feelings and hardships that they may be facing. 

Even further, the content that you serve them needs to be aligned with the shift in the buyer’s journey. 

For example, if you are a restaurant accounting software company, you may not be able to generate sales right now. However, you may be able to build your pipeline through relationship marketing and creating experiential content around “how to survive the economic downturn in the restaurant industry”.

Find ways to support your audience and you’ll find success. 

Building it out 

Creating your customer journey map example helps you identify potential places where you can create specific content and ad campaigns.

Create a visualization

There are four different types of customer journey map examples: current state, day in the life, future state, and blueprint. We’ve got options! 

Current state” visualizations illustrate what your customers do, think, and feel as they interact with your business. “Day in the life” visualizations illustrate what people do, think, and feel today, as well as how they internalize those feelings.

“Future state” illustrates what people WILL do, think, and feel down the road. “Blueprint” illustrates a current or forthcoming customer journey map but includes systems of people and technologies.

Depending on what journey map you create, ensure that it covers specifics that your business needs to cover. 

For example, if you are creating a visualization that is based on the “current state”, ensure that each action, thought, and feeling the customer has as they interact with your business is matched with a step in your customer journey map. Once you have made your decision, add this information to your journey map to present a creative visualization.

Source: https://kerrybodine.com/the-4-types-of-customer-journey-maps/

Time for takeoff

Your customer base is constantly changing, and their needs, actions, motivations, and emotions change continuously. For example, if you target mainly B2B businesses for the past several years, and you are shifting into general software businesses, you may need to remap your customer journey to get in front of the right crowd. 

Review this journey monthly and anticipate change, and it will change. Keep in mind, you’re building relationships, and they take time, effort, and a little empathy along the way. 

Time to pivot?

Have you noticed a shift in your buyer journey? Are you noticing different user habits?

It may be time to pivot your targeting strategy.

Referring back to the previous example of restaurant accounting software — are there really many buyers in that industry during the shutdown? Probably not.

That doesn’t mean you cannot still market to them.

But for productivity companies like Slack and Zoom – how do you pivot?

It is all about maximizing your ability to target your total addressable market. Reach as many people that are looking for the solution your product provides, at the lowest possible cost.

The key, however, is to remain empathetic. For example, Zoom switched their messaging to “In this together.” They add clean messaging, that is empathetic, and right to the point.

Customer journey map examples

_Source:_ NGDATA
_Source:_ Columbia Road
_Source:_ Edrawsoft

The path toward ROI  

Customer journey mapping can take some time, yes, but pinpointing exactly what type of advertisements will reach and resonate with your customer can influence your ability to generate leads, improve sales, and advance brand equity. 

Especially with the change in the current environment, it is important to maximize your ability to effectively market to your customers. You want to ensure that your message is met at the right place and time, or else it can negatively impact your brand equity.

Having that deep of an understanding of your potential customers is invaluable.

What other organizational & research tactics do you use to improve your understanding of your target audience? Share your favorite PPC methods, or let us know if you have any questions.

This article is a guest post by a representative from one of Optmyzr’s customers. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Optmyzr and its employees.

PPC Automation Is Alive And Well. Are You Missing An Opportunity?

Are you wasting time working on tasks that could be automated?

That’s the exact question I asked myself several years ago, before making the switch from a manual account management process to an automated one.

Conversion Hut is slightly different to most marketing agencies. We only focus on two areas – PPC Ads and Conversion Rate Optimization.

Our agency has a diverse portfolio of clients and before moving to a more automated business model, our clients were more than happy with the consistent performance improvements that they were receiving.

However, where we were running into difficulty was when we were trying to focus more on the overall strategy for the accounts. Including testing new types of campaigns as well as consistent landing page testing and optimization.

All of this just wasn’t possible in the time allotted for every client, each month.

I looked at the client schedules and could see the amount of time being used was primarily the housekeeping tasks rather than tasks which could provide real growth.

My theory was that by reducing the amount of time we spent on general tasks by replacing it with automation, we could then spend more time focusing on the big shiny things.

So in true Conversion Hut style, we thought “Let’s test it”.

Let’s test switching to a predominantly automated PPC management agency which would allow us to spend more time on aspects that were really going to move the needle and less time on things that could be done with little human interaction.

If we could save time and still maintain our high quality standards, this would be a win for us.

What Happened Next?

To be quite honest, it transformed our company.

Tasks that would usually take a few hours each day, were instead done in minutes.

And instead of spending less time on things like strategy and conversion rate optimization, we were now spending the majority of our time doing them.

The Current Situation

At the moment there seems to be people on two sides of the fence when it comes to automation.

People that prefer to do everything manually, because they don’t want to lose any control. And then there’s the people that harness the power of automation and understand that you’re still in full control.

Our tool of choice for our PPC automation is Optmyzr.

We’re fully aware that there are plenty of tools available on the market that offer a similar service. But for us, Optmyzr does everything we could possibly want it to and more.

In this blog post i’m going to cover some of the different tasks that we automate and how our company benefits as a result.

The topics that we will cover are as follows :

  1. Keyword Bidding
  2. New Keywords
  3. Ad Testing
  4. Bid Modifications
  5. Shopping Campaigns

Keyword Bidding

Bidding effectively is the holy grail of PPC management.

It can really make or break a campaigns performance.

However, it’s extremely time consuming as well as requiring to be done regularly. In some cases, even daily.

Because of this, it can take up the majority of time that account managers have.

Which is more than likely why a lot of the agencies out there have opted for using one of Google’s automated bidding strategies for their clients.

For most of our clients, we can’t see the same performance improvement that we can by doing keyword bidding manually, which is why we haven’t gone down that path.

The automated bidding tool that we use can adjust bids for thousands of keywords in seconds. And unlike Google’s technology, we’re actually defining the rules that the bids are set to.

So for our ecommerce clients we can define an ROAS that we want to try and meet from each keyword.

We can also set those rules on a product basis if we like. So if one group of keywords needs a target ROAS that’s higher or lower, we can customise our bids accordingly.

Alternatively, for lead generation and SAAS companies we can adjust bids based on a target CPA that we’re trying to hit.

An example ‘recipe’.

We can also specify the amount of conversions a keyword must have before we make a change as well as making sure the keyword bid hasn’t been adjusted in a certain time period (i.e. 7 days).

There’s one more really important capability that was a game changer for us.

The lookback window.

We can set multiple lookback date ranges for each rule that we create, so that we can find out when keywords met a predefined rule.

For instance, we may adjust the date range from 7 day, 14 day, 30 day, 60 day and so on, until it matches our rule.

Once it does, that’s the data it uses to adjust the bid.

For one person to do this manually, would almost certainly be a full time job for some accounts.

As i’m sure you can see already, automated bidding can save hours of manual work.

But that hasn’t scratched the service of what automation can do just yet.

New Keywords

Any account manager knows that adding new keywords is a basic part of PPC management.

By continuously adding new relevant keywords to an account, it will help increase traffic and sales.

The downside is that it takes time to do. Quite a bit of time for most accounts.

Here’s the usual manual process for adding new keywords :

  1. Load up the search terms report for the last 30 days.
  2. Look for keywords which have driven clicks.
  3. If a search term looks like a good addition, add it to a list to include.
  4. Once complete, add the new keywords including each match type to the relevant adgroups.
  5. For those keywords which require their own adgroups, create a new adgroup.
  6. Add keywords and different match types.
  7. Create new ads
  8. If there isn’t a relevant landing page, create one.
  9. Publish.

Woah.

Looking back at it now, that’s a lengthy process and i can’t believe we used to spend all that time doing it!

What Happens Now?

Now we can pre-define criteria for new keywords that we want to add to an account.

We may say that we require a minimum number of clicks, impressions, conversions or quality score before we decide to include it in a campaign.

We’ll then see a list of suggestions to include and we can pick and choose what we would like to go with.

We can quickly duplicate the keyword and adjust the matchtype so we have various versions. We then click the add button and they’re added to our adgroups.

What about if we need to create a new adgroup?

That’s no problem either, we can specify that the new keywords need to go into their own single adgroup and it will create them automatically.

This also includes pulling the ads in from the adgroup where their clicks came from.

Ad Testing

Nothing can improve the performance of a PPC campaign more than consistent Ad testing.

Although working your way through each campaign regularly to weed out the under-performers and highflyers is fairly time consuming.

Previously we used to this with the use of a script that would tell us when an ad became the “winner” based on a limited amount of settings that we could define.

I think the term to refer to that process was it was ‘fine’. It kind of did what we wanted it to do, with some customisation.

How Our Ad Testing Looks Like Now

Within Optmyzr we can quickly jump into the A/B testing for Ads report and see if there are any ad tests that have reached statistical significance.

We can choose the date ranges to look at as well as them ad performance from specific campaigns.

We can even select the test result confidence level that we want for an ad to be a statistically significant winner.

We can also set the amount of impressions an ad must have before even including it in the analysis.

Additionally, we can choose whether we want to set a winner based on Conversions, Conversions by Impressions or CTR.

We can quickly see how ads KPI’s are performing

Because of this, our ad testing has moved up to a whole new level.

We easily save at least 4 hours of PPC management for each client per month from this feature alone.

And because we’re applying the criteria before calling something a winner, it’s far more accurate (in my opinion) than doing this manually.

Where this tool really comes into its own is when it comes to pausing the losing ads.

When we’re ready to pause an ad, we can also create a new ad at the same time.

But that’s not all.

The feature will also tell us the best performing copy from historical data, to use on each of the various Ad elements.

Next Steps

Right now we’re testing using a new feature in Optmyzr which allows us to quickly analyse and compare the ad performance data based on the various ad components (Headlines 1,2,3 + Descriptions 1,2 etc).

This works great for big accounts that have lots of adgroups but don’t necessarily receive lots of clicks. Where reaching any conclusions from the data would take a long time to do.

Our account managers can now quickly see how specific copy is performing across all campaigns or individual campaigns. We can even segment by device to see how the performance changes between them.

This works brilliant for us.  

When working with medium to large accounts, this process takes a huge amount of time to do. Now we can see this data in seconds.

Bid Modifications

Since bid modifications were introduced, they’ve really helped make optimization more granular.

However to do this effectively, we previously needed to work our way through each of our clients campaigns and make the adjustments manually where we thought we could improve performance.

Since moving to Optmyzr, we’ve definitely streamlined this process and picked out some of their best features to make this happen.

We use their suite of tools that are made to assist with Bid Modifiers, in particular for Geo, Device and Audiences.

The method we use is called Intelligent Suggest, which from the name you’ll probably be able to gather that it gives you the recommended modifications based on your goals.

It uses machine learning to provide the suggestions, which includes an array of different factors.

We can then see a predicted performance improvement if the changes that are suggested are applied to the campaigns.

Each of the different modifications that can be made, can be broken down further to be more granular.

So rather than just adjust Device bids at the campaign level, we can adjust them at the adgroup level instead.

We can see each of the proposed changes to made and make our own changes should we wish.

To compile and apply this data would take hours for a human to do, but using automation, it’s done and applied within seconds. The only time involved is clarifying the changes that are being made.

Shopping Campaigns

Google Shopping Campaigns are huge at the moment and there’s no sign of them slowing down.  With new features being released frequently, it’s a great time to be using them.

However, when it comes to Google Shopping Campaign Optimization, there’s a huge amount of factors that are involved to not only setup a campaign effectively, but then turning those campaigns into revenue generating machines.

By default, Shopping Campaigns load of all of the products from the product feed into a single product group.

But this isn’t the best way of implementing a shopping campaign, as you’re effectively bidding the same on all products.

So for instance, you could have a product with a retail price fo $500 and that would have the same bid as a product with a retail price of $10.

Implementing campaigns like this is unlikely going to get the results that we want.

When it comes to the shopping campaigns we create, we always apply the One Product Adgroup method.

What’s involved here is creating an individual adgroup for each of our products that are in our product feed.

That way we have much more control over not only our bids, but our bid modifications too (as well as many others).

Prior to using Optmyzr, we used to do it all manually with the help of excel.

To say it was time consuming would be an understatement.

Using Optmyzr, we can quickly build campaigns based on our product feeds in seconds.

We can choose if we want to build the product groups based on a number of different attributes including :

What Optmyzr helps us do is take the time out of creating campaigns and give us more time to manage them strategically.

There’s also some additional tools that they offer to help with managing the campaigns.

The Biggest Mistakes Made With Automation

We asked Fred Vallaeys, Cofounding CEO of Optmyzer what he thought the biggest mistakes people make when moving to automated PPC management :

  1. Automations still need to be monitored. I.e. Do NOT set-it-and-forget-it. For example, a Google Ads script authorization could expire which means it stops running. Now that automated script that you thought would prevent you from spending more than the client’s budget isn’t actually running and you miss the budget.

  2. Automations require reliable inputs. For example, if you have automated bidding but your web server goes down and clicks are leading to a 404 page where no conversions are possible, it will start to reduce bids, perhaps so low that you no longer qualify for page 1. Then when the server is fixed, ads linger on page 2 and your conversions aren’t restored.

  3. Automations need complete instructions. For example, if you tell a bid system to maximize conversions but you set no bounds on maximum CPA, it can buy some very expensive conversions. If you don’t distinguish between different types of conversions, some of which are more valuable, it may buy too many of the low value conversions.

The Robots Do As We Say Not The Other Way Round

As i’m sure you’ll agree with what we have covered in this article, automation isn’t just about giving full control to the robots and letting them go and do as they please.

We still have the final say over what happens in our accounts. Any changes that are made, we can decide whether to make them or not.

As well as that, the room for error in the changes that we do is so much lower than if it were to be doing them manually. Humans being humans, can have off-days and make errors in the optimization that they are doing.

Agencies seem to be fairly divided when it comes to used automated tools or not.

We think it’s a no-brainer for allowing our campaign managers to spend less time on the housekeeping and more time on the big-wins for our clients.

I think main question here is what would you rather, a campaign manager that’s snowed under doing day to day tasks with no time to spend on growing clients accounts?

Or a campaign manager that has a surplus of time, that they can use to focus on making more money for them?

PPC automation is being adopted by successful agencies across the world in some shape or form. So this isn’t really a question about if you’re going to use it. It’s about when you’re going to start using it.

I really hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to the benefits of PPC automation and been able to see the amount of time that it can save as well as the improvement in performance.

I’d love to hear your experience with PPC Automation. Please feel free to reach out with your comments or questions.

Chatbots as a Conversion Rate Optimization Tool

Chatbots as a Conversion Rate Optimization Tool

There are two dimensions to optimizing a PPC campaign.

  1. The first has to do with all the factors leading up to a prospect clicking on your Ad. In this phase of an Ad’s lifespan, you can optimize things like Ad copy, targeting, keywords etc, to make sure your Ad reaches the right people and induces them to click.
  2. The second phase, one which I have found to be less spoken about, is everything that happens after a prospect clicks. Post-click optimization is the process of increasing the percentage of site visitors that convert into leads (i.e. give their email, schedule an appointment share their phone number, sign up for a newsletter etc.). The process can take many forms, but has a single underlying focus : reducing friction. Put simply, if it is hard or unpleasant for a prospect to give the necessary info to generate a lead (i.e. high friction) then it will increase the likelihood of them dropping and tank your conversion rate. On the flipside, if it is easy or enjoyable for a prospect to advance the lead generation process (i.e. low friction), drop rates reduce and conversion rates increase.

Traditionally, attempts to reduce friction have been iterative improvements on existing web design and technical improvements to improve page performance. Reducing � form length, makes the lead capture process shorter; AMP pages reduce load time; and usability testing tells you whether individual components of your landing page are hindering your prospects from completing the lead generation process.

A new trend in the marketing space however, threatens to upend this status quo. Chatbot marketing is� red hot because chatbots offer a radically different way to address queries and collect lead information, making for a unique post-click experience.� This article is a primer on the technology, explaining what chatbots are in a PPC context, where they can help reduce friction and perhaps more importantly, where they could increase friction and hinder your PPC efforts.

What is a Chatbot?

Chatbots are fully automated pieces of software that facilitates a trade of products, services or information through a conversation.The best way to understand how chatbots can function in the context of your PPC campaign’s post-click experience is to look at them as a middle ground between click-to call and landing pages. They are wholly automated, live on a webpage and require an on-screen interaction much like landing pages. However, the conversational nature of the interaction more closely mimics the feel of a click-to-call experience. Implementation-wise, I have found that there are two primary means of deployment. Either as a chatbot landing page, like this:

Or as a widget on a traditional landing page like this:

Where should you use Chatbots in PPC Campaigns?

I have found that chatbots work best for B2C lead generation use cases, where prospects have little expertise but absolutely need the product or services they are buying (e.g. insurance, mortgage, real estate, healthcare, education). Chatbots in such contexts offer the same benefits � as click-to-call campaigns. Since users have little knowledge about the product they are buying (e.g. very few people are insurance experts), they appreciate a guided interaction with an agent� (virtual or human) who knows better than they do. The conversation reduces friction in the buying process, killing uncertainty.

A good way to understand this is by looking at the pitfalls of a traditional landing page alternative. If someone landed on an insurance landing page and wanted to figure out which policy they should buy, they’d likely have to go to a text-laden information page (e.g. an FAQ) or search for content which clarifies their doubts. This is a considerable amount of added friction to the lead generation process. It adds a step and more significantly it presents information all in one go on a single page making for a boring at best and intimidating at worst experience for an uninformed prospect. Chatbots and click-to-call campaigns fix this problem by taking the opposite approach. Since information is exchanged between a prospect and an agent through a conversation, it is presented in byte-sized chunks that are easily digestible. Prospects, through their input can control what they see next. This piece-by-piece approach also means that the information presented is extremely focused on a specific aspect, thus avoiding the risk of information-overload. I like to compare this to the experience one has in an Apple Store.

When you walk into an Apple Store, there is always a knowledgeable sales rep waiting to greet you, figure out your needs, and guide you to the product that fits those needs. The great thing about these sales reps is that they cut through a lot of the fancy specs which mean little to uninformed customers and tell customers exactly what they need to know about their future phone or laptop in a way that is accessible and human. Similarly, chatbots can offer prospects a direct answer to their product-related queries without presenting them with a text-heavy, terminology ridden, FAQ or testimonial page which could increase friction by intimidating them.

Additionally, it is worth noting that chatbots offer a significant advantage over click-to-call campaigns. Phone campaigns require human agents to function. This means high labor costs, long wait times, cumbersome IVRS qualification systems� and long stretches of downtime outside of working hours. Or in other words, considerable friction. Since chatbots are automated, they can handle almost infinite conversations simultaneously, regardless of the time of day.

Where you shouldn’t use them?

The assisted buying experience of a chatbot does not help in all PPC use cases. In fact in some use cases it might even hurt! When users have a high amount of information (e.g. e-commerce or B2B marketing software) about what they are buying, they do not need reassurance or assistance while making the purchase. In fact they often prefer dense pages that can provide as much information as possible. Such pages are amenable for deep dives into specifications and feature comparison which are key to the buying process. � I find that when I am buying software for my marketing stack for example that I like to open several tabs, comparing the minute details of several competing products. In such a scenario, having to interact with a bot to release information piece-by-piece is a hindrance. To extend the analogy of the Apple store further, imagine if every time you walked into Trader Joe’s there was a sales rep asking you what exact groceries you want and making their suggestions about what you should buy.

I� personally would find it far more annoying than picking up what I want on my own.

The Upshot

There is a lot of hype surrounding chatbots in the digital marketing space. As with most fads, some of this hype is warranted. Chatbots are a great alternative to both click-to-call (cost-wise) and landing pages (UX wise) in those buying interactions where prospects want to be assisted or have low information. They present information in a conversational way, cutting down on the overload that often accompanies traditional landing pages, without incurring the additional labor costs of a click-to-call page. On the flipside, lost in the buzz are the very real limitations of the tool. When prospects are decently knowledgeable about the product they are buying however, the back-and-forth nature of a chat interaction increases the friction associated with a conversion because it makes detailed examination of a product harder. Put simply, chatbots are like any other CRO tool. If used correctly, they can reduce friction dramatically and drop your CPA. If used incorrectly, however, the opposite occurs and your PPC campaign suffers.

5 Simple Ways To Increase Your Quality Score

Quality score is like an onion, or a parfait if you’re Donkey from Shrek, because well, everybody likes a parfait.� Whether you prefer one analogy or the other, there’s always more to your quality score than meets the eye. On the surface, we all know what quality score is and why it’s important. So, why don’t we pay more attention to it? Most likely because it’s easy to see a 1-10 score and take it at face value. That’s merely the first layer, however, it’s beneficial to dig deeper and do more. Sure, we may tweak our campaigns a bit to increase quality score but how many of us are familiar with what it takes to truly improve the quality score? Moreover, why is quality score so important?

Like much of Google (search algorithm anybody?) the available information is somewhat vague about how a quality score number is achieved.

This is how Google defines it:

Quality Score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. Higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions.

Google goes on to tell us that the 3 components of the quality score are:

Yes, that’s a bit oversimplified, but it does give us a place to start. First off, we know that quality score is important because a better score can lead to higher ad ranks and lower per click costs. Who doesn’t want that?

To confuse matters more, Google then goes on to tell us that the 1-10 quality score given, which is just an aggregated estimate, isn’t even used at the time of the auction to determine ad rank. Why? Because it is� just an estimate after all.

What do they use then? I’ll let Google tell you:

Real-time, auction-specific quality calculations of expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience are used to calculate Ad Rank at auction time. These factors, which are based on things known only at the time of the auction, can heavily influence the quality of the user’s experience.

So, while we may not know the exact score at the time of each auction, we do have a pretty good idea of the quality by looking at the quality score we do have. Yes, I agree, it would be better to have a deeper level of insight into why your score may not be where you want it but Google has, in recent weeks, added more to the standard 1-10 quality score.

If you haven’t noticed it yet you can now also see

You also have access to a history for each keyword that will let you know if you’ve improved or not. While it is nice that these are now available, seeing only average, above average and below average can you leave you wanting but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

This is why we’ve been using Optmyzr’s Quality Score Tracker. Not only does it show us the data that Adwords gives us for quality score, it goes above and beyond with great visuals while also aggregating account, campaign, and ad group quality score data. No need for me to go into the differences here, Frederick Vallaeys has already done that by giving us Five Ways That Optmyzr Tracks Quality Score that AdWords Can’t.

Why Is Quality Score Important?

As previously stated, a good quality score can lower cost per click while increasing your ad rank. The reason is simple: relevance. For example, Google doesn’t want to serve up an ad for string cheese to someone searching for a 2017 Toyota Tacoma. They also don’t want keywords that match an ad landing on a page that’s about something else entirely.

As such, Google will reward you by multiplying your cost per click by your quality score in order to determine your ad rank. What that means is you can spend less per click than your competitor and outrank them.

Yes, this is an oversimplification of why quality score is important but I’m ready to move on to the meat and potatoes of this post. Don’t worry though, I’d never leave you hanging. Here is a video by the chief economist over at Google, Hal Varian, titled Insight on the Adwords Auction.

#1 Use Optmyzr’s Quality Score Tracker

That’s not to say that you can’t use what Google gives you, but our team uses Optmyzr to track our quality scores. Why? Because when you have as many accounts as we do (I work for an digital ad agency) with dozens of campaigns, ad groups, ads and keywords in play at the same time, we need all the help we can get in order to quickly pinpoint the areas we need to focus on the most.

We’ve worked the Quality Score Tracker into our daily process and our clients are way better off because of it. We’ve also learned that this is a great tool to show clients. Granted, there is some debate out there about whether quality score is a good metric to show a client or not but with the way we do things, it’s great. We like to teach our clients because we believe that a learned client is a lifelong client and, as long as they understand what kind of return on ad spend (ROAS) they are getting, one who understands the benefits of larger paid search budgets

Below is a real screen-shot of a dealership client of ours:

Right off the bat we can see where the issue is. Overall, the account quality score is good at a 7.7 but as we all know, there’s always room for improvement.� That red circle on the top left stands out, doesn’t it?

Clicking into it we can see the offending ad group in addition to the offending keywords. We can even see the quality score over time. Below where it says Daily Trend (bottom of image) there is a line graph that tells you exactly when the quality score dipped. Armed with that knowledge, I’m able to go into AdWords and see that the ad was wrong. While the ad had been changed to include the year of the vehicle, the keywords for this particular ad group didn’t include that information. Since the keywords being bid on didn’t match the ad and, of course, the landing page when the ad was clicked on didn’t match the ad, the quality score went down.

This took just a few minutes to find and then correct.

#2 Use Long Tail Keywords – Expected CTR Quality & Ad Relevance

Competitive keywords can be difficult to manage in both organic and paid search, especially in the more competitive industries, which is why you should always be picky about the keywords you use. With long-tail keywords you can be more specific and specificity equals a higher conversion rate, less cost per click and a higher expected click through rate.

If you really want to take the whole superhuman CTR thing to the next level then think about using single keyword ad groups (SKAGs). True, these may take a bit more work to implement but your CTR will thank you. There are more than a few reasons why you’d want to take a closer look at SKAGs and I encourage you to if you aren’t familiar with them or haven’t tried them yet. One of the main reasons why SKAGs work so well is because they are so very relevant. Using SKAGs you can ensure that every keyword used (don’t forget about long-tail here) is in the ad copy of the ad.

Yes, you can use dynamic keyword insertion for this, but for more flexibility, try SKAGs.

Negative keywords are your friends. For some reason negative keywords are easy to overlook, but they should be paid close attention. The search term report will show you the holes that need to be plugged. Plug them, but keep checking back to make sure another leak hasn’t sprung.

#3 Use EVERY Ad Extension Possible – Expected CTR Quality & Ad Relevance

I see a lot of accounts once we take them over from another agency and it always confuses me as to why more ad extensions aren’t used. Not only do they give your ad more bling, they also take up more space (this is really good on mobile), increase relevancy and drive up the click through rate.

I understand that not all ad extensions will be relevant in every case, but use all that make sense. Yes, some are more time consuming than others but the more you use the better your ads will perform.

Take a look at the price extension. Can you use it? Then do it. It takes up a ton of space on mobile and can really drive your competitors down. Recently, Google announced that price extensions are now available on all devices. Again, they take up a lot of space and, on desktop, look really cool. Need more of that bling I mentioned earlier? Well, here you go.

Also, make sure that you’re at least using location extensions (if you have a physical location), call extensions, structured snippets, site links, call outs and the message extension. Sound like a lot? This is just the tip of the extension iceberg, make sure to use as many as you can. When it comes to extensions, remember that more specific is better. What I mean by that is that you can add account level extensions but you’ll see better success if you narrow it down to the campaign level or, better yet, the ad group level. Just remember to keep your eye on the prize, a better quality score.

#4 Ongoing Ad Optimization– Expected CTR Quality & Ad Relevance

One ad per ad group isn’t enough, neither are two. Google recommends at least 3 per ad group. The best way to get the best performing ads is by doing A/B split testing, even if you are using SKAGs. Also, think about copywriting and how you can turn a boring ad into a more compelling ad that invites a click.

The best way to ensure that your ads are highly targeted is to always write each one from scratch. Never stagnate, always try to beat your best performing ads by writing even more compelling copy for the next ad. If you have long-tail keywords going to a highly converting ad then you are well on your way to increasing your click through rate and your ad relevance.

#5 Take a Long Hard Look at Your Landing Pages – Landing Page Experience

You wouldn’t send an ad about toothpaste to a page selling candy would you? Rhetorical question, but sometimes it takes an absurd question to drive a point home. My point is that you should be as obsessed with making your landing page match the ad as you are about the ad matching the keyword. That’s a great start but you need to go further than that.

First, make sure that the landing page looks just as good on mobile as it does on desktop. Pay close attention to the speed of the page because Google has gone on record as saying� that 53% of smartphone users will abandon a web page if the site takes more than 3 seconds to load. 3 Seconds! Couple that with a recent study that shows we have an average attention span of just 8 seconds� (1 second less than a goldfish) and you have a recipie for disaster if you aren’t careful.

While I won’t be going into depth about landing pages in this post I think it’s important to ensure that your landing page has a call to action. What’s a call to action? Anything that gets people to act on whatever it is that you want them to do. It can be a lead form submission, a download, a phone call or even watching a video. Whatever it is it has to be very easy to do. Making people jump through hoops won’t lead to conversion. Having said that, if it’s not feasible to put the final call to action on the actual landing page, then you must make sure that your site is easy to navigate with a clear path to your desired conversion. Take a long hard look at your landing page data and pay particular attention to what is happen in analytics. Are they converting? Are they following the path you’ve laid out for them? If not, why not? Take a look at the data from both the desktop and mobile perspective, is anything off? If so, fix it.

Don’t Stop There

Keep optimizing. Don’t let your account, or your client’s account, slowly die. Stay active, make adjustments regularly and become obsessed with raising the bar. Never stop until the bar is as high as it can possibly go. � There has been a lot of talk over the years, even research done on the importance of account activity. So, stay active my friends.

Optmyzr Case Study: An AdWords Management Game Changer

According to Merriam-Webster, a game changer is “a newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way.” � And I can assure you, Optmyzr has been a game changing force in my business life.

 

I manage AdWords campaigns for a living, and when I say I manage AdWords campaigns, _I manage AdWords campaigns_, and a lot of them. � I’m in AdWords 60+ hours a week managing a large number of campaigns for a large number of clients. � I’ve worked very hard to do a great job managing these campaigns for my clients, and I’ve worked very hard to build my reputation as an honest, hard-working, and professional operator. � And it turns out that when you skillfully provide a trade or service, and do it in an honest and professional way, new business will stampede your way and you’ll quickly find yourself to be very busy.

 

And in June of 2016, that’s the situation I found myself in. � I was very busy managing lots of AdWords campaigns, but I still had new clients wanting to hire me. � Initially this was a very stressful situation. � I was just about out of working hours each week, but I still had people wanting to hire me. � So I felt like I was leaving opportunities on the table. � But at the same time, I wanted to keep my current clients happy and continue to provide great AdWords management services for them.

 

So what was a young, driven, (and some would say) good looking lad to do? � There was only one answer.

 

Increase efficiency.

 

I knew that if I could get the same weekly AdWords management tasks done in a smaller amount of time each week, then I could keep doing a great job for my current clients while freeing up more time to bring on new clients and grow my business. � So I knew that efficiency was the _only_ way to grow my business.

 

Initially I thought _hmmmmm, this will be easy. � I’ll just use AdWords scripts and save myself a bunch of time_. � But then, after spending an hour or so trying to learn scripts, I was coldly reminded that I don’t really know anything about scripts or writing software, and that trying to learn that stuff would take a ton of time… and remember the problem in the first place… I HAD NO TIME LEFT IN MY WEEK!!!

 

Enter Optmyzr

 

Once I realized learning scripts and writing my own software was too big of a learning curve, I thought to myself, _let’s look for an AdWords management software_. � I Googled “AdWords management software,” and that’s when I found Optmyzr. � It was love at first sight.

 

Why I Gave Optmyzr a Try

 

I immediately liked two things about Optmyzr. � The first thing I noticed is that two of the co-founders of Optmyzr had worked at Google. � And that one of the co-founders, Frederick, had been one of the first 500 employees at Google and had spent “10 years building AdWords.” � What more can you as for in terms of being credible? � These guys were building AdWords when I was looking for a prom date.

 

And the second reason why I gave Optmyzr a try is because they made it easy for me to give them a try! � They offer a free trial and you don’t have to enter a credit card. � This made it very easy for me to say, _okay let’s try it out_.

 

Why Optmyzr Works

 

Optmyzr works great for two reasons. � One, it makes me more efficient at Google AdWords management. � And two, it makes me _better_ at Google AdWords management.

 

The reason I started looking for an AdWords management software is because I needed to free up more time each week so I could take on more clients, but I didn’t want to sacrifice management quality. So again, efficiency was the only answer.

 

And Optmyzr helps me be more efficient. � I can do almost all of the weekly AdWords management tasks I like do right from inside Optmyzr, and the efficiency is tremendous. � I’ll cover a specific example below, but just so you know, with Optmyzr you can add new, relevant keywords from the search terms report, you can smartly manage bids, you can A/B test ads, and you can find negative keywords from the search terms report… and you can do this all from inside the Optmyzr dashboard. � You can also do a ton of other stuff too, including quality score analysis, report generation, removing duplicate keywords, and on and on. � There’s so much you can do inside of Optmyzr, and it’s so much faster than manually doing these tasks in AdWords. � Optmyzr makes me a much more efficient AdWords manager.

 

The second reason why Optmyzr works so great is because not only does it make me a more efficient AdWords manager, it makes me a _better_ and _more-effective _AdWords manager. � Optmyzr’s software helps me see things I can’t see with just the human eye. �

 

For example, in the A/B testing tool for ads, it shows you clear winning and losing ads in Ad Groups where the confidence level is 90%, 95%, or 99% depending on your preference. �

 

How do I know what the confidence level is when manually managing ads without Optmyzr? � I don’t. � I don’t have the statistical skill set or time to determine confidence levels when I judge ad performance manually. � But Optmyzr’s software does. � Optmyzr can examine the data, and find ad groups where the confidence level is high enough to warrant pausing a poor-performing ad. � And it does this in an instant. � Being able to access and analyze data that I could not realistically come up with on my own is why Optmyzr not only makes me a more efficient AdWords manager, but also a _better_ AdWords manager. � And this A/B ad testing tool is just one of the many ways Optmyzr makes me better at my job.

 

And while we’re speaking about the A/B ad testing tool. � Let me cover another game-changing feature of Optmyzr. � In the A/B ad testing tool, not only can you find and pause poor-performing ads that need to be paused, you can also quickly create new ads to test the existing winning ad against. � And when I say quickly, I mean _quickly_. � Creating new test ads is one of the most important but also one of the most time-consuming aspects of AdWords management, but with Optmyzr’s fast _copy the winning ad and edit this new test ad_ tool it’s both fast and easy. � And again, this is just one of the many great features of Optmyzr.

 

Excellent Customer Service

 

One of the coolest aspects of Optmyzr is the excellent customer service they provide. � I have an issue, then fix it. � I have a question, they answer it. � Optmyzr’s people go above and beyond to not only answer questions about their software, but they actually will take customer feedback and make improvements to their software based on customer suggestions.

 

It’s clear that Optmyzr’s people _get_ Google AdWords. � They know what it’s like to manage Google AdWords campaigns and they make solutions that are perfect for AdWords managers. � And beyond that, they deliver those solutions with some of the best customer service I’ve ever seen.

 

Good For One or Many Accounts

 

I think Optmyzr is a great solution for AdWords management, regardless of whether you’re just managing your company’s one AdWords account, or if you’re an AdWords management agency managing many client accounts.


The solutions Optmyzr offers will work great for one account and for many accounts.

 

I strongly encourage anyone managing an AdWords account to give Optmyzr a try. � And if you’re managing many accounts, I think it’s a must-have.

 

Optmyzr is an ever-growing tool that has many cool features. � A lot of Optmyzr’s tools are very intuitive if you’ve been managing AdWords campaigns, and you can start using them right off the bat. � But I also encourage you to take some time to read through Optmyzr’s documentation to learn about _all_ of the cool features they have because this tool really can do a ton of stuff, and I’m using more and more of its features every week.

 

Good Luck

 

Providing a service in the tech-advertising world can be a scary career choice. � There is _constant_ innovation and change. � If you don’t keep up, your business will die. � A business dying is a very sad thing. � And I try to avoid sad things.

 

Optmyzr has been a game-changer for me. � It’s helped my business grow, innovate, and not only get more efficient, but also get better at providing AdWords management services.

 

As someone who lives in AdWords every week, I can _strongly_ recommend Optmyzr for all AdWords advertisers. � It will make you more efficient and help you get better performance.

 

Note from Optmyzr: Thanks Jason and Rothman PPC for sharing your story! If anyone else wants to share their success story about using Optmyzr and have it published on our blog, please get in touch with us.

Top 9 Costly AdWords Mistakes to Avoid

This is a guest post written by Phil Frost, Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil will be presenting a webinar, “How to Improve Adwords Profits With Proper Conversion Tracking” on October, 5th at 12:00PM EST. Click here to register.

 

Google AdWords is the sports car of online marketing. It’s fast, intuitive and draws a lot of attention. When firing on all cylinders, there’s really nothing like it.

 

Neglect or disrespect it, though, and your campaigns can quickly lose traction.

 

A number of issues can stall your AdWords efforts. Some issues are easily fixable, while others require a closer look under the hood. Here we’ll review nine common problems that keep advertisers’ campaigns out of the fast lane.

 

Mistake #1: Targeting Both Networks at Once

AdWords is powered by Google’s massive search and display networks, connecting businesses with endless scores of potential customers. The Search Network includes Google.com and partners such as Ask.com and AOL.com. The Display Network encompasses websites such as YouTube, Gmail and Blogger as well as millions of other websites, blogs, and apps.

 

Unfortunately, AdWords urges advertisers to run their campaigns on both networks. This is problematic because Web users on each network behave entirely different. People on the Search Network are usually shopping or doing research, while folks on the Display Network are often just surfing the Web. Different approaches are required to market toward each group.

 

Don’t follow Google’s advice here. Instead, create separate campaigns for each network. You’ll see the payoff when optimizing for better results.

 

Mistake #2: Using the Wrong Keyword Settings

Are you getting tons of clicks but few conversions? Or is your campaign getting a high volume of impressions with very low CTRs? If so, check to make sure you’re not using broad-match keywords.

 

Broad-match keywords are undesirable because they’re far less likely to send relevant traffic to your website. Even if those uninterested users don’t click on your ad, you could still end up paying if low CTRs drag down your quality scores. You’ll get less traffic from phrase- and exact-match keywords, but you’ll also get better CTRs and landing page conversions, and your quality scores won’t suffer.

 

Mistake #3: Ignoring Negative Keywords

Negative keywords can stop your ads from being shown to completely irrelevant users, boosting your CTRs and conversions. However, many advertisers completely overlook them. Always, always, always set negative keywords when building your campaigns.

 

An example of a negative keyword: If you owned a barber shop, then you’d want to set variations of “dog,” “cat” and “pet” as negative keywords. Otherwise, you’ll be inundated with traffic from people seeking haircuts for their four-legged friends.

 

Mistake #4: Not Using AdWords Conversion Tracking

AdWords Conversion Tracking helps you understand what happens after Web users click on your ads. Do they respond to your landing page by calling your business, downloading apps or making online purchases? Do they click around your site or bounce without taking any meaningful actions? This information is absolutely essential when optimizing for better performance.

 

Installing AdWords Conversion Tracking is fairly simple, though you might need help from a Web developer. You need to add a snippet of code to your website and/or mobile app. You can also use a Google forwarding number to track phone calls resulting from website visits.

 

Mistake #5: Not Linking Your AdWords Account to Google Analytics

Google Analytics provides you with data you can’t get within AdWords alone. With Google Analytics, you can run various reports to get detailed information about your campaigns, ad groups, ads, keywords and traffic sources. It’s free and easy to set up, although you’ll need to install code throughout your website.

 

Mistake #6: No Separation of Mobile and Desktop Traffic

More people view the Internet now using smartphones and tablets than desktop PCs. And while online shoppers share similar motivations, key differences in the mobile and desktop experiences mean people behave differently when using their smartphones. For advertisers, that means remembering that campaigns optimized for desktop users probably won’t appeal as much to smartphone users, and vice versa.

 

The easy mistake here is setting up your campaigns to run across all devices. Instead, create separate campaigns for mobile and desktop users. Also, make sure your mobile campaigns are using responsive landing pages that display properly in smartphone Web browsers. Don’t even think about campaigns for mobile traffic if your website isn’t optimized for mobile viewing.

 

Mistake #7: Ads Lack Important Keywords

Writing compelling ad copy is anything but an exact science. However, an easy way to attract eyeballs is to include your best keyword terms in your ads. People are more likely to click your ad if it literally contains what they’re looking for.

 

As your campaigns pick up steam, you’ll eventually learn which of your keywords drive the most high-quality traffic to your ads and landing pages. Use this information to build new ads and ad groups around your top-performing keywords.

 

Mistake #8: Incongruent Landing Pages

Does your landing page deliver on the promises you make in your ad copy? If not, there’s a good chance people are bouncing as soon as they hit your landing page.

 

Make sure that whatever you claim in your ad copy is clearly represented on your landing page. If your ad offers free shipping, then your landing page should have information about your free shipping policy.

 

When advertising a sale, your landing page should prominently feature the sale event or items. Nothing sinks conversions faster than incongruent landing pages. And you definitely don’t want to draw complaints about using bait-and-switch tactics.

 

Mistake #9: Refusal to Seek Help

Anyone is capable of cultivating AdWords campaigns that help their bottom lines. However, it’s common for marketers and business owners to plateau or experience diminishing returns. Sometimes, seeking help from a knowledgeable third party is the key to further progress.

 

That said, don’t be too quick to hand over the keys to your AdWords account. The more you learn about AdWords, the more you’ll know whether your account is in good hands with a third-party professional.

 

Conclusion

Google AdWords is as powerful a vehicle as you’ll find in online marketing, but you won’t get far without knowing which features can help your campaigns. It’s easy to get in the driver’s seat and launch a few campaigns, but there aren’t any shortcuts to long-term success.

 

Fortunately, using AdWords is much less risky than driving a high-powered sports car. You just need to know the rules of the road.

 

Want more tips to improve your AdWords performance? � Click here to Get your free copy of our Ultimate Google AdWords Checklist.

 

What You Need to Know About A/B Split Testing in AdWords Using Optmyzr

I spend a lot of time talking and writing about the more humanistic elements of advertising; how to appeal to your audience in a unique and personal way, how to create a genuine connection with your visitors and so on and so forth. In our experience, there’s a lot to be said for these sorts of unquantifiable things that often get overlooked amongst the maelstrom of statistical analysis and data crunching.

Often times we need to make a judgment call that accounts for both our intuition and the immutable data our campaigns accrue.

That being said there are times when it’s important to sublimate our instinctual emotions and optimize our campaigns within the ruthlessly unforgiving framework of our historical data.

A/B split testing ad copy is one these instances.

Few, if any, of the standard optimization techniques we SEMs use will yield as consistent and predictable results as A/B split testing our ad copy. We can peel and stick keywords into new ad groups, restructure our account to work on our Quality Scores, readjust our custom bidding schedule with the hope of increasing our conversion rates – but they’re all inherently unpredictable to a certain extent. A/B split testing ad copy, when done right, will guarantee that your KPI of choice will increase (however incrementally) over time.

However, there are some important things to understand about A/B split testing ad copy that will spell the difference between your tests’ success or failure.

SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS IN ADWORDS

Optmyzr provides by far the most advanced and efficient A/B split testing tools available to agencies and individual advertisers, but you need to make sure your AdWords campaigns are configured in a way that will help you run your split tests appropriately from within the Optmyzr dashboard.

By default, AdWords will optimize your ad rotation based on the ads expected to get the most clicks. This is great – if you’re lazy 🙂

If Google rotates your ads based on the ads expected to get the most clicks, you’ll generally see one or two of the ads in a given ad group getting the lion’s share of impressions and clicks. Naturally.

A/B split testing is all about getting statistically significant data across all the ads involved in any given test, so the first thing you need to do is change the ad rotation settings to rotate evenly. AdWords offers the option to rotate evenly for 90 days and then optimize, but since we’re going to be A/B split testing long after 90 days (right!?) we want to choose the “rotate indefinitely” option.

Untitled:Users:Isaac:Documents:2015-02-10_1313.png

You can change this setting in the campaign setting tab. Keep in mind, since this is a setting modified at the campaign level, it will apply the rotation setting to all the ad groups in the campaign.

DEVELOPING YOUR A/B SPLIT TESTS

Now that we’ve configured our ads to rotate evenly, we need to figure out what to test and how to test it. Based on how much data your account is generating you’re going to have to decide what type of split test you want to run.

People often confuse technical terminology, so we’ll begin by defining the difference between a multivariate (full factorial) test and an A/B test.

A/B split tests are the easiest to run and unless your landing pages are getting high volumes of daily traffic, an A/B split test is the method of choice (in my opinion at least). � While many people think that A/B split testing is strictly for testing one individual variable, that’s not really the case. You can run 2 completely different ads against each other (or 3 or 4 for that matter), with different headlines, description text and display URLs, and still call it an A/B split test.

If you’re just measuring which ad performed the best, and not which individual variable performed the best, it’s an A/B test.

A multivariate test is when you seek to learn which individual variable performed the best. In other words, if you were testing 4 different variables (headline, description line 1, description line 2 and display URL), you would need to write 16 different ads (all possible combinations) in order to see which combination of variables worked the best. For most accounts, multivariate tests sound great in theory but don’t work so effectively in practice. In order to determine a winning ad, you need statistically significant data. Most accounts aren’t getting the kind of volume to make multivariate tests worth the time and effort.

So for our sake, let’s go back and talk a little more about A/B split tests.

I strongly recommend running single variable A/B split tests whenever possible (and let’s face it … it’s always possible). When you run 2 ads alongside each other testing just one variable, you know what element in the ad accounted for the better (or worse) performance.

For example, say you decided to run an A/B test on 2 different ad headline ideas. You’re a high end self-publishing company and you thought it may be a good idea to include your minimum order price in your ad headline to help dissuade people looking for cheap solutions from clicking on your ad. So you write two identical ads and only change the ad headline in one of them to include your minimum order price. When the statistically significant (more on that soon) results are in, you’ll know beyond the shadow of a doubt that it was the change in the ad headline that accounted for the difference in performance.

If for example you also changed the description lines of the ad to something other than the identical copy of the other ad in the ad group, you won’t know if it was the headline or the description or a combination of the two that accounted for the difference in performance.

Like we said, that would still be considered a valid A/B split test since we know one of the ads statistically outperformed the other ad, but we won’t know exactly which element of the ad should get the credit.

That being said, there are times a multivariable A/B split test is really useful. If you’re running a new ad group and you have two completely separate ideas that are thematically dissimilar, running two completely separate ads in an A/B test to determine which direction you should take for future tests could be a really useful strategy to use.

Let’s go back to our previous example of your high-end self-publishing company. You’re not sure whether highlighting the speed and quality of your service or the professionalism and experience of your editorial staff would make for a better ad. These are two separate ideas, and with the allotted ad space you can’t cover both aspects of the business. In this case, it may be a good idea to run a multivariable A/B test with one ad focusing primarily on the speed and quality and another ad focusing primarily on the editorial staff. You’re not testing any one variable like a headline, but rather a concept as a whole. Once your test determines which ad is more appealing (based on the KPI you choose to measure by – more on that soon) you can then dive into single variable A/B tests to further refine your copy and consistently increase performance.

For the sake of not getting stuck in a rut of stagnation and complacency, it’s always a good idea to periodically test new multivariable “concept” ads to try and find new ideas that you haven’t explored in the past.

Now that we know the sort of test we want to run, what do we actually test? You’ll probably get five different answers to this question if you ask five different people, so I’ll just tell you what we’ve found from the hundreds of accounts we’ve managed over the past few years.

Start with A/B testing ad headlines. When testing one variable like a headline, I generally aim to write four variations – which of course would give us four separate ads in an ad group. If you’re getting fewer than 75-100 clicks daily for any given ad group, consider writing 2-3 ads instead.

Your headline is not only the first element of your ad read by a user; it is often the only part of the ad that gets attention. If someone sees an ad headline they really like, they’ll often click the ad without reading the rest of what you have to say for yourself. Conversely, if the headline turns them off or isn’t precisely what they’re looking for, they’ll likely pass you on and move to the next ad on the page.

There’s a lot of information to swallow on a search engine results page, and people just don’t have the time or mental fortitude to read and analyze every line of every ad and organic result. It’s not something we advertisers like (after putting so much work into every character of our precious ads) but it’s the cold reality we have to eventually come to terms with.� So in fewer words, test your headlines first. I hope most people would agree with that.

Following our logic, test your description lines of text next. Whether you test one line at a time or both lines of description text in one shot depends on your preference and the type of ad you’re writing (is there a distinct thought on each line or are both lines one long message?).

It’s a good idea to test your display URLs since the historical CTR of your display URLs plays a role in your Quality Score. Don’t expect to see dramatic results from an A/B test on display URLs (if there’s one part of your ad someone won’t read, it is the display URL), but test them anyway for the sake of Quality Score and for the sake of doing your job right.

What specifically to test is a longer discussion for another time but I try to always think of the products and services we’re advertising more in the context of their emotional benefits to the customer and less in the context of their features. Nobody buys a vacuum because they want a vacuum; they buy a vacuum because they want a clean room. We’ve seen some extraordinary A/B test results testing features VS. benefits (“bag-less and compact!” VS. � “a home as clean as you after a long hot shower!”), and in almost every case, highlighting benefits and emotional payoffs always produce better results.

Also consider the idea of what I like to call qualifiers. Qualifying your clicks by including prices in your ads is one way of dissuading undesirable clicks from people whose traffic you don’t want to pay for.

A/B testing landing pages is also something that is highly effective, but with the advent of complex A/B landing page tools and software it has become an industry unto itself and need not conflict with your ad copy A/B split tests.

I’d be remiss to not mention the idea of testing your call to action. Of course, you have a call to action (right!?), and it’s a great idea to test different CTA’s to see which ones capture the attention of your audience the most effectively.

Now that we know how and what to test, let’s take a look at how we measure and define the results of our tests.

STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE

If we didn’t have a tool like Optmyzr, the next few paragraphs would probably (definitely) bore you half to death. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather watch paint dry than talk, write or listen to anything that had to do with coefficients, correlations and the holy grail of statistical measurements – p values.

Luckily for all of us, Optmyzr does all that work for us. But just for the sake of our intellectual well-being, a quick word on p values.

In a statistical test, a p value tells us how significant, or scientifically interesting, our results are. We may find that headline A had a higher CTR than headline B, but how confident can we be that we’d see the same results if we ran the same test again? And again after that?

Our p values (also referred to as our confidence interval) tell us how confident we can be that we’d see the same results repeated, or in other words how reliable our findings were. � A p value is just a number outputted by the statistical equations used to calculate the correlation between our variables, and depending on the field of study, different p values represent different thresholds of acceptability.

In the medical profession, when the results of a test can quite literally inform a surgeon on a life and death decision, a p value of less than .01 is required to determine reliability. For AdWords, a slightly less precarious area of study, we could assume that a p value of less than .05 is perfectly acceptable. In fact, in the social sciences p<.05 is the benchmark for reliability.

At this point you’re probably thinking if you never hear the words p value again it would be too soon. Amen to that, brother. I promise, it’s going to be lots of colorful pictures from here on out.

Since this isn’t a beginner’s Optmyzr tutorial, I’m going to assume basic working knowledge of the Optmyzr dashboard.

So we’ve configured and launched our split test, and now we want to see if we have enough statistically significant data to pick our winners.

 

Navigate over to the A/B testing for ads under the one click optimizations dropdown in Optmyzr.

Before we analyze our results, we’ll want to take a look at the settings Optmyzr allows us to configure.

Remember p values? That’s what OPTMYZR is referring to with Required Confidence. � By default it’s set to 95% (p<.05) and that’s a good place for it to stay. You can also filter your results by Ad Type, Network, Minimum Impressions Per Ad and the Date Range.

The important option to look at here is the Parameter options list. As you can see from the first image, Optmyzr sets our parameter to CTR by default. This means that the statistical analysis will look at CTR as our key performance indicator of choice to determine the winning ad. As you can see from the green and red highlights in the CTR column, CTR is the metric being “studied” in this test.

You can also choose to run the A/B test results using conversion rate and conversions per impression as your metric of choice.

In order to determine which parameter you should use depends on the strategy behind the ad groups you’re testing ads in. If you’re running a broader, loosely targeted campaign to drive traffic to your site so you could build your remarketing audiences or your brand awareness, CTR may very well be the metric of choice for you. If your campaign is designed to drive profit and a positive ROI, then you may want to analyze your ad performance in the context of conversion rate.

Because the campaign we’re looking at here is a branding campaign, I care primarily about visitors to the site – so I’ll keep CTR as our metric of choice.

So for this A/B test we’re testing two different headlines. Based on a confidence level of 95%, Optmyzr outputs a winning ad using CTR as our metric of choice.

But can you spot something wrong?

The winning ad has a much higher volume of clicks and impressions as the losing ad. This is because the ads in this ad group were not set to rotate indefinitely and Google was giving preference to the ad expected to get more clicks. While the test results are still statistically significant, we want our data to be more equal when it comes to the volume of clicks and impressions.

Let’s hop over to another account to see what a proper A/B test should look like.

 

In this example, we ran a multivariable A/B test on two different overall ad concepts. Even though the winning ad still has quite a few more clicks than the loser, the losing ad has enough volume to lend real validity to the results of this test.

Notice another thing. Even though my parameter of choice over here is still CTR, Optmyzr graciously lets us know if another one of the metrics also matches up with statistical significance at our desired confidence interval. In this example, the winning ad also has a statistically significant higher Conversion per Impression rate than the losing ad. Good to know!

If you run into instances when one ad wins on CTR but loses on conversion rate, you need to seriously think about the campaign strategy and decide which metric to base your optimizations off of.

IF YOU HAVEN’T FALLEN IN LOVE WITH OPTMYZR, YOU WILL NOW.

Not only does Optmyzr make it incredibly easy (and a little fun) to run AB split tests results across an entire account in one shot, Optmyzr also allows you to pause the losing ads from each split test with the click of a button.

 

By default, Optmyzr selects all the losing ads across all the ad groups and A/B tests that had statistically significant results within your defined parameters.

If you’re satisfied with the results, you can click the blue “Pause Selected Ads” button in the upper right hand corner and the losing ads will be paused inside your live AdWords account. Seriously, how cool is that?

But now that you’ve paused one of the ads, you want to write a new ad in its place so you could run another A/B test. Optmyzr has another incredibly useful tool that allows you to do just that without leaving the dashboard.

By clicking the “Create Ad” button in the upper right hand corner of an ad group’s section, Optmyzr presents you with a dialogue box that will allow you write a new ad and publish it live in the ad group you selected. Even cooler, Optmyzr gives you suggestions for each element of the text ad based on results from historical data and previous A/B tests run in the account.

As you can see, OPTMYZR offers a completely thorough solution to do A/B split testing in an easy, aesthetically simple and intuitive way.

The best way to get a sense of how it works is to just go in there and mess around with the different parameters. Once you get the hang of it, running what would otherwise have been complex analysis will take you a couple minutes.

CONCLUSION

A/B split testing ad copy gets overlooked even though it’s one of the most reliable and effective forms of optimization. Because of its inherent complexities and ambiguities, we sort of just gloss over it picking and choosing winning ad copy based more on our intuition than on statistically sound results.

Optmyzr’s A/B split testing tool really changes that for a lot of people by simplifying a complex task and making it incredibly easy and hassle-free to perform regularly and effectively.

Even though we rely heavily on statistical evidence with A/B tests, it’s crucial to express your creative voice and use your intuitive sense to determine what, where and how to test. By combining your unique personality and some good statistical analysis, you’ll be A/B testing like a pro.

Again, it’s easy to get complacent in a certain holding pattern with A/B tests, so remind yourself once every couple months (or weeks) to go back to the drawing board and test some new “concept” ads.

If you have any interesting data on A/B tests you’ve run in the past, I’d love to hear about them. Of course, any comments or questions are more than welcome (leave them below), and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

If you’ve made it all the way down here, I really appreciate you taking the time to read this post. Looking forward to next time …

Happy Testing!

Learn more about how I manage AdWords accounts at� Adventure PPC.

Regular Pages

Oct 2020 Paid Advertising Roundup from Mabo: New in Google Ads & Facebook

Artificial intelligence is bringing about a golden age of technological divination, opening up insights that predict futures and trends that shape the market. Advanced machine learning models change the way we work, always learning and adapting, providing us with an accurate array of digestible data. The latest features from this month include new tools to give advertisers the ability to tap into that unrelenting power.

1. Google Ads

1.1 – Google Insights Page & Performance Max Bidding

Google’s announced two additions to the Ads platform in their recent Advertising Week roundup. The Insights page, which initially will be available as a beta, will prove key trends and account information to help accounts push in those areas. It may show an interest in a certain product range, or forecast future growth opportunities which you will be able to optimize towards. It goes without saying just how incredibly useful this feature will be, allowing you to catch the latest trends in time and build your strategy around them.

Performance Max campaigns will serve as an addition to Search campaigns, helping find the signals that ultimately lead to a conversion. They will allow you to focus on several goals such as new customer acquisitions which will give the option to assign additional conversion value, calculated from the potential future revenue. However you intend to choose your goals and accompanying value, we’re receiving yet another tool to expand our already diverse toolkit.

1.2 – Data-Driven Attribution Changes

Attribution modeling has always been a hugely important part of accounts, and getting the right model can play a huge role in an account’s performance. The Data-Driven model is excellent as it’s unique to each account, using advanced learning to find the ads which had the highest impact for each conversion.

Fortunately, the data requirements for an account to be eligible for data-driven attribution have reduced to a minimum of 3,000 ad interactions and at least 300 conversions in the past 30 days; that’s down from 15,000 ad interactions and 600 conversion events in the past 30 days. Google have updated their support article with these changes.

In addition to this change, Youtube metrics have now been included in attribution reports so that you can see how much video metrics play a part in conversions, further expanding opportunities for advertisers. This is currently in beta so you’ll have to opt in to take advantage and to put the cherry on top, Google have mentioned that they’ve got plans to include Display ads in the upcoming months.

1.3 – Google Local Services Ads Now Available In Europe

Google introduced Google Local Services Ads a while ago, allowing users to find local businesses, book appointments & more. These ads initially came to US & Canadian audiences however they’ve recently expanded to include a host of European countries including the UK, France & Germany. With a focus on home service industries, such as plumbing or electricians, these unique ads are ideal for lead generation with the added ‘Google Guaranteed’ bonus.

1.4 – Google Analytics 4

The new update for Google Analytics utilizes the same machine learning, which has successfully powered the Ads platform, provides smarter data insights to push for success. Similar to the Insights page for Ads, these new insights can give access to current trends and user demand, alongside predictive metrics that can project the amount of revenue a group of customers can bring, producing new opportunities for custom audiences. It will also give deeper access to a customer’s journey, how they discovered your brand and how they engage with your content. It’s safe to say these new features, which require you need to create a new view to access, will be pivotal to anyone wanting to analyze their traffic.

2. Facebook & Instagram

2.1 – Facebook Attribution Window Changes

Due to changes in digital privacy, Facebook will be removing the 28-day attribution window option and will instead offer a 7-day window, which they claim is a more sustainable measurement strategy. We can’t stress just how necessary data is for advertising so it’s disheartening news to hear. These changes came into effect from the 12th of October; however, any historical account data will remain. During this transition, you may find your reports showing a downturn in performance, although it’s important to note that this may likely be down to how results are measured.

2.2 – Facebook’s New Language Model

The team behind Facebook’s incredible AI have announced significant changes to the way language is processed, moving forward to their multilingual machine translation model (MMT). Whereas before, the translation model used English as the connective language due to the extent of English data that’s available. The new model, named M2M-100, cuts out the English connection allowing for 2,200 language directions improving how the meaning of the original text is conveyed. This change brings for more accurate translations with a model that’s continually improving in a world that’s getting closer every day.

October’s Attribution To Success

This month’s changes seem to be heavily focused on attribution changes with Google now including Youtube into attribution reports and reducing the limitations for accounts to take on the data-driven model. To contrast that, Facebook have reduced their attribution window from 28 to 7 days but have at least updated their ad policies allowing for more lenient creatives. Finally, Google Analytics has seen a new update to bring in advanced machine learning features, a massive benefit to all platforms.

For more information on Mabo and their paid advertising management services, please visit Mabo.co.uk.

Sep 2020 Paid Advertising Roundup from Mabo: Google Limits Search Terms & More

As we come to the end of Q3, preparations are underway to take advantage of the seasonal peaks to maximize on this upcoming potential. The ability to access a monumental amount of data is our biggest ally in the battle for profitability. New updates can come as a rallying cry of innovation or a new hurdle to surpass; the way we react to these changes can be a defining attribute for any advertiser.

1. Google Ads

1.1 – Google Reducing Visibility For Search Terms

In a heavily disputed move, Google announced on the Ads platform that they will start hiding low-traffic search terms, only showing high-traffic results. To confirm, even if that term received a click, it might not show up.

Data is king in this industry, whatever the amount, so this move has received some rather negative feedback. According to Google, this is a move to support privacy and protect user data, which seems slightly hypocritical considering how many user signals are tracked and used for smart bidding.

1.2 – In-Market Audiences Available for Shopping Campaigns

Google’s latest CSS newsletter has announced that in-market audiences have officially been launched for Shopping campaigns, a hugely welcome feature for many of us. With smart bidding taking away a lot of optimization opportunities, audiences are now more critical than ever given that you can still enhance your smart bidding through adjustments. Additional audiences bring more options for you to optimize your bidding, allowing you to utilize that data tweak your bidding on a more granular level.

1.3 – Create Rules More Efficiently In Merchant Center

Feed rules have become even easier to do in the Merchant Center. You can add multiple words and phrases within a single rule with new options giving access to ‘any of’ variants, such as ‘contains any of’. Gone are the days of arduously creating a rule for each query to action on; quality-of-life improvements like these are a real step forward for user efficiency.

2. Microsoft Ads

2.1 – Dynamic Remarketing & More

One of the best additions this month comes from Microsoft, giving us a huge boost just in time for the holiday season with some powerful audience features.

Dynamic Remarketing is now accessible for advertisers, allowing you to target your audience with the very products they’ve been viewing; a perfect fit for Black Friday, Christmas and more. Go one step further with LinkedIn Profile Targeting, giving you a unique approach to create custom audiences based on a user’s company, job function and industry.

Finally, in-market audiences are now available for both France and Germany.

3. The Digital Services Tax (gov.uk publication)

3.1 – Google Parrying the New Tax

Google’s answer to tackling the new DST fees is one that’s come with shock, with them imposing the tax onto the advertiser’s bill as a percentage of spend. Initially affecting the UK, Austria and Turkey, the fees will start as of November 1 with a straight 2% of a UK account’s monthly spend being added onto the bill, rising to 5% for Austria & Turkey accounts.

Although this fee impacts all businesses, it does seem exceptionally harsh to SMEs, having just dealt with the economic repercussions of lockdown.

3.2 – Amazon Following Suit

Amazon has followed the same approach as Google by forwarding the new tax onto its sellers, their justification being that they absorbed the DST whilst the legislation was in the process of being passed. The fees for Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) will increase by 2% as of September 1 and 15, respectively.

3.3 – Facebook’s Heroic Response

Facebook has a history of sour representation given David Fincher’s powerful 2010 drama and congressional hearing that sprouted several unflattering memes. Yet in an inspiring move, they have announced their intention to absorb the new tax so that it’s not passed onto sellers.

We’re seeing a rare glimpse of ethical responsibility coming from Facebook in a bold act that will surely improve their image.

A Controversial September

This September is one that advertisers may hope to forget. Despite Google bringing some practical updates, they’ve also included some revisions which are arguably more detrimental to the ads platform. Amazon continues to be frugal and Facebook is taking an unexpected moral high ground, though we’re yet to hear any official word from Microsoft.

Unlike the last two months showering us with utility updates, this month hasn’t been half as fruitful.

For more information on Mabo and their paid advertising management services, please visit Mabo.co.uk.

Omnisend’s 8 Best Practices for Shopify App Advertising in 2020

Among the main contributors to Shopify’s growth are the multitude of apps available on its platform. Indeed, some of the top Shopify apps make it easier to develop, grow, and maintain online businesses. But how do you use them to advertise your e-commerce store and grow your revenues in today’s business environment? Here are some of the best practices you should employ this year:

1. Prioritize personalization.

Source: https://apps.shopify.com/omnisend

It’s critical for today’s consumer to feel a connection with the brands that they patronize. So, whenever you reach out to your customers, make sure that it’s with a highly relevant message.

There are apps that seamlessly plug into your Shopify store that give you incredible personalization options. Such software allow you to segment your subscriber base in great detail in order to reach out to them with highly converting messages. With the right tool, you’ll be able to target your customers not merely based on their profile data but also their specific activities or shopping behaviors.

2. Focus on customer retention.

Source: https://apps.shopify.com/swell

Acquiring customers is much more expensive than retaining the ones you already have. Plus, it has a greater impact on your bottomline. In fact, even a 5% increase in your customer retention rate can boost your profits by up to 95%.

One of the best ways to cultivate customer loyalty is to maintain a compelling rewards program. By rewarding your customers for every interaction with your brand, you’ll easily boost repeat purchases and strengthen relationships with your customers. All it takes is finding the best Shopify app to integrate into your store.

3. Recover abandoned carts.

Source: https://www.invespcro.com/blog/the-top-7-reasons-for-shopping-cart-abandonment-tips-for-avoiding-them/

About 7 out of 10 of shoppers on your store will fill up their carts without checking out. Often, that happens either because of unexpected shipping costs or they’re simply not yet ready to purchase. But no matter the reason, it pays to lure these shoppers back in.

Some Shopify apps allow you to build automation workflows that identify cart abandoners and re-engage them through personalized and targeted messages. This allows you to revive what would have already been lost sales. You can also recover abandoned carts by setting up exit-intent pop-ups as well as retargeting ads.

4. Engage in retargeting.

Source: https://www.business2community.com/marketing/17-retargeting-ad-statistics-will-make-retarget-right-now-2-infographics-01464774

Retargeting can be useful not just for cart abandoners but also for window shoppers, which are common even in e-commerce. The good news is that there are digital tools that allow you several chances to convert online window shoppers into actual paying customers. This makes a significant impact on your revenues, as window shoppers are 70% more likely to convert with retargeting.

With Shopify apps, you can easily run retargeting campaigns on sites like Facebook, Google, and their properties (e.g. Instagram, Youtube, and Gmail). These allow you to integrate your shop data and manage your entire marketing strategy on a single platform and drive traffic to your Shopify store.

Source: https://sixads.net/blog/shopify-traffic-channels-generating-sales/

5. Optimize for mobile.

Source: https://apps.shopify.com/shopney-mobile-app

Transactions on mobile devices are expected to make up at least 50% of all ecommerce sales. So, it’s essential that you have a platform that’s optimized for the mobile audience. That means making sure you have an incredibly responsive website. Or, if it makes sense for your business, you can build your own native app.

Mobile app builders on Shopify make creating your own native mobile app remarkably easy. These software don’t just make it easy to develop your brand’s ecommerce app but also provides everything you need to offer a good mobile customer experience. Typically, that includes features like simplified checkout process, in-app messaging, and rich push notifications. When you are planning to improve your ecommerce business, mobile should be on priority list.

6. Make the most of social proof.

Source: https://apps.shopify.com/loox

User reviews are valued by 88% of shoppers just as much as personal recommendations. Given this, it pays to use the reviews you already have not only on your social media pages but also everywhere else you can manage. These are especially valuable on your product pages.

Shopfiy apps allow you to easily integrate social proof like user photos and product reviews onto your product pages. By using these apps, you make your web visitors more likely to complete a purchase.

7. Produce interactive content.

Source: https://apps.shopify.com/pickzen

Interactive content like quizzes and questionnaires is one of the most effective lead magnets for retail websites. This advertising tactic has an average lead capture rate of 31.6%.

Apart from engaging quizzes, among the best ways to use this tool is to produce questionnaires that lead to highly relevant product recommendations. Shopify apps don’t just make it easier for you to create these interactive content but also capture data and gather insights from your users.

8. Host engaging contests.

Source: https://apps.shopify.com/gleam

A chance at winning enticing prizes can be an excellent motivation for your customer to help you grow your audience and boost your brand’s popularity. If planned correctly, hosting contests can also be a cost-effective advertising tactic.

Today, there are Shopify apps that allow you to easily create online competitions or giveaways. These tools provide everything you need not just to develop and run your contests but also to pick winners, verify entries, and capture data.

Conclusion

Shopify has enabled hundreds of thousands of businesses to reach online audiences. Its success as an ecommerce platform is undoubtedly driven by its versatility. It is simple enough for novices to navigate but also dynamic enough for experienced digital retailers to get exactly what they need.

But to really make the most out of the platform, you should learn to identify the best Shopify apps to support your business. Take advantage of them to advertise your shop, grow your audience, and nurture your customers. Consequently, you’ll enjoy incredible revenue growth as well as a stellar brand reputation.

Two Sides of an e-Commerce Coin: The Stay-at-Home CPC Experiment

When it comes to my clients, I have noticed a clear distinction between the winners and losers of e-commerce during this crisis.

The changes in the consumer landscape, as a result of the Coronavirus, are affecting different industries in seemingly polar opposite ways. The current state of commerce can be either a major advantage or disadvantage for performance, depending on industry and business model.

While e-tailers are quickly adjusting strategies to deal with the current environment, the major players in the advertising space are also changing the rules. Both Amazon and Google have made strategic changes to their advertising models, changing the game for everyone.

The majority of businesses I support are in the retail industry, split among e-commerce retailers, manufacturers and lifestyle brands. I have noticed a major divergence across these categories in terms of direct-to-consumer PPC performance.

The customers I would classify in the manufacturing and lifestyle brand category have struggled with reduced search volumes and lower conversion rates. These brands often have a strong DTC presence, but direct-to-consumer isn’t their primary channel of distribution.

The biggest challenge that these brands face is that they do not have the breadth of incoming search traffic the pure-play retailer group enjoys. A large portion of their incoming traffic is tied to high-intent brand queries, and many categories have seen these types of queries drop dramatically when brand and related search phrases are not as well aligned with the stay-at-home lifestyle.

In order to make up for the short-term headwinds, these brands have had to increase short-term promotional activity as well as shift more advertising dollars from a bottom-of-funnel strategy to a full-funnel or mid-funnel strategy, which traditionally require that they accept a lower direct ROI on ad spend.

The good news is that in most cases, the traffic for these branded queries bottomed out in mid-March or early April and have shown consistent growth over the past several weeks. There is some reason to believe that some of the changes in search behavior will return to normal over the next several months.

On the other side of the ‘consumer behavior coin’ are e-commerce retailers I would classify as pure-play in the DIY, Hobby, Home Improvement and Gardening categories. The retailers I support in these categories have benefited from what has been called an “8-week-long Cyber Monday event”.

Transactions and revenue have rocketed to all-time highs, with a steady drumbeat of daily traffic up an average of 100% or more. This jump in traffic hasn’t all been roses, of course, as supply chain capacity has been drastically impacted by stay-at-home orders across the country and internationally.

Increased demand, combined with a less-than-fully-functioning supply chain has impacted stock rates and delivery times, putting a strain on e-tailers.

While the lift in transactions, clicks and revenue can be compared similarly to an extended Cyber Monday event, the change in average CPC is nothing like what we traditionally see during high-demand times.

During holidays, we typically see an increase in average CPC across the board, as the PPC landscape becomes more competitive. Currently, however, the pure-play e-commerce companies I support have seen a drastic drop in CPC.

During the most recent two weeks, these e-commerce companies have seen a drop in average CPC of 37%, with a median drop of 47%. This drop in average CPC, coupled with increased clicks and conversion, has increased ROI by as much as 300% for these companies.

Tip from Wes: If you haven’t yet, I suggest you start testing aggressive CPC changes immediately. If you are concerned about decreasing your site traffic, I suggest using the Optmyzr Rule Engine and set a rule that looks at clicks for rolling seven-day periods. If the clicks for the campaigns you are testing fall below a threshold, you can set your rule to update the bids accordingly.

The drop in CPC has of course been a managed adjustment but has not experienced the expected negative impact on clicks. In fact, the CPC to Click correlation is drastically less elastic than we have seen traditionally. I strongly suspect this is primarily due to a reduction in spending by competitors, with a change in Amazon’s advertising behavior having the most impact across the landscape for these companies.

This suspicion is supported by the data available in the Google Ads Auction Insight tool.

Whereas Amazon typically enjoys between 30-60% impression share in these industries, over the past two months Amazon has dropped off the board completely. This makes sense, as Amazon has also seen both increased order volume and distribution constraints, requiring them to focus on ‘essential services’. It makes complete sense that they would cut ad spending right now.

How long this ‘new normal’ will last is anyone’s guess, but recent changes to the Google Shopping platform suggest that Google is taking the change seriously. The drop in PPC advertisers combined with the increased search volume Amazon is enjoying has pushed Google to institute a more aggressive approach to fill its search listings.

Google recently announced that it would be opening up its shopping platform results, making the results presented on the Google Shopping tab free. While many of the high-volume placements (such as product carousels) will still be paid placements, Google will now be allowing anyone with a qualifying merchant center account to list products.

It will be very interesting to see how the next few months play out.

There are a lot of questions yet to be answered, but if we know anything for sure, it is that things are unlikely to go back to ‘normal’ anytime soon.

This article is a guest post by a representative from one of Optmyzr’s customers. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Optmyzr and its employees.

Customer Journey Mapping: The Real PPC Marketing Funnel

In paid search marketing, we consistently see marketers talk about the different levels of the marketing funnel: awareness, consideration, decision, or, top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and the bottom of the funnel. 

Unfortunately, this way of thinking is most of the time inaccurate.

The issue with the process is that the consumer’s buyer journey is not linear. If anything, people bounce back-and-forth from awareness to consideration multiple times before coming close to a final decision, especially as we enter uncharted waters during the changes in our world. 

To better grasp customer journeys, map out the actions, motivations, emotions, and thoughts of the user. What key messages need to be given to the user to get them to take action? 

What PPC insights can we use to help them get there?

This thought process has further implications for how we create ads and how we nurture potential advocates of our brands and products. Let’s dive in.

Why are linear funnels wrong?

Can you think about a time when you were looking to solve a problem and you took a route like the one in the image above? I sure can’t.

Decision-making is a roller coaster of decisions and emotions. 

For marketers to fully connect with users at scale and sell them their products at the right point in time, it’s critical to understand these decisions at every stage of the customer journey. 

How are marketers getting it wrong?

It is less about how marketers are getting it wrong, but more about how marketers may be missing a necessary step in their advertising efforts. 

If you do not comprehend your target audience’s journey, then you will miss out on potential customers down the road.

So, what is a customer journey map?

A customer journey map is a visualization of every step a potential customer takes in completing a desired action with your company. 

Customer journey maps allow you to pinpoint exactly where you need to interact with potential customers to ensure that they are aware of your brand — at every step of the marketing funnel.

Why is this critical?

Customer journey mapping allows the full understanding of customer interactions with a business. Take important events, actions, motivations, emotions, thoughts, messages, and pain points, and create a comprehensive visual that connects all of them together rather than one standard method, as shown above.

Think of customer journey mapping as a relationship development tool: how do you learn about your target customer and ensure that you know everything about them to make them feel safe by choosing your business?

Understanding your customer journey

To fully grasp your customers’ journeys through the buyer cycle, especially in these times of unforeseen crisis, you must understand specific interests and qualities about them. 

There are various ways to work through these questions and identify all gaps in the necessary information to effectively market to the right audience at the right time. 

Let’s lay some groundwork

Before you begin, get organized, and set your objectives. What are you trying to accomplish? 

These objectives should take into account several different things:

Once you have gathered these lists of questions, create goals shaped around them.

Ultimately, you will take these questions and apply them to the next step: creating the target audience personas.

By gathering deep insights into your objectives, you can better understand goal setting in the future.

Target persona set-up

Target personas are outlines or breakdowns of realistic versions of your ideal customers.

To successfully create target personas, understand the basics of what drives that target audience to your website, including:

Get creative with obtaining this kind of information through various analytics platforms such as Instagram Analytics or Google Analytics. There are surveying tools you can use to send basic informational surveys to your current customer base such as SurveyMonkey or Qualtrics

You can find more information about personas in this article.

For a basic example, if you run a cloud operations company whose target audience is chief technology officers for enterprise businesses, your target persona may be as follows:

Breaking down potential next steps

Once you identify a few target personas, break down each step, based on their actions and motivations, emotions and thoughts, key messages, and funnel conversions.

Actions and motivations

As we previously discussed in creating target personas, the actions and motivations are what make up every step of the customer journey. 

Once you have compiled a group of potential actions and motivations for a customer to take different steps with your company, list them out in the order of least to most likely to make a purchasing decision.

For example, if you sell software and determine that your audience is motivated by price and ease of integration into their current operations, mark those as most likely.

If you have also found that some customers learn about your brand through education revolving around your software’s functionality, then you would mark that as least likely.

Emotions and thoughts

Next, place-specific emotions and thoughts that could influence one to hop from one action to another. This is our first step at trying to place specific emotions to specific actions.

For example, someone who is frustrated with the lack of a comprehensive solution (emotion/thought) may take action to learn more about your company’s solution that fits their needs (actions and motivations).

Key messages

Next, determine what key messages you need to place that align with your potential customer’s emotions and thoughts. 

These messages need to be action-inducing! Even further, incorporate your business’s unique value propositions and stand out in comparison to your competitors. 

For example, a call-to-action supporting our target persona’s actions and emotions is “Learn for free how our comprehensive solution will improve operational efficiency”. Make it specific. Help them solve a problem. 

Funnel steps and conversion points

Next, identify different points of the sales funnel where your audience can take action (either on your website or as a part of your sales and marketing efforts). 

How are you going to get them to convert?

Take this opportunity to identify your most effective conversion points. For example, if you only use sales-heavy language, you may miss out on nurturing leads who may be weary to commit to a sale at that current moment.

Create gated content or even an email subscription sign up that gathers their information and keeps them engaged with your brand. 

See below:

How do marketers react to the current environment

Right now, especially during the economic downturn, users might have different reasons they are buying — or not buying at all. 

With economic uncertainty, the buying process is more thought out and conservative. By matching your advertising intent with that knowledge and being aware of specific user motivations, you can build deeper connections and improve sales. 

With that being said, be empathetic and remember you’re speaking to humans. The messages you portray to your audience should match real feelings and hardships that they may be facing. 

Even further, the content that you serve them needs to be aligned with the shift in the buyer’s journey. 

For example, if you are a restaurant accounting software company, you may not be able to generate sales right now. However, you may be able to build your pipeline through relationship marketing and creating experiential content around “how to survive the economic downturn in the restaurant industry”.

Find ways to support your audience and you’ll find success. 

Building it out 

Creating your customer journey map example helps you identify potential places where you can create specific content and ad campaigns.

Create a visualization

There are four different types of customer journey map examples: current state, day in the life, future state, and blueprint. We’ve got options! 

Current state” visualizations illustrate what your customers do, think, and feel as they interact with your business. “Day in the life” visualizations illustrate what people do, think, and feel today, as well as how they internalize those feelings.

“Future state” illustrates what people WILL do, think, and feel down the road. “Blueprint” illustrates a current or forthcoming customer journey map but includes systems of people and technologies.

Depending on what journey map you create, ensure that it covers specifics that your business needs to cover. 

For example, if you are creating a visualization that is based on the “current state”, ensure that each action, thought, and feeling the customer has as they interact with your business is matched with a step in your customer journey map. Once you have made your decision, add this information to your journey map to present a creative visualization.

Source: https://kerrybodine.com/the-4-types-of-customer-journey-maps/

Time for takeoff

Your customer base is constantly changing, and their needs, actions, motivations, and emotions change continuously. For example, if you target mainly B2B businesses for the past several years, and you are shifting into general software businesses, you may need to remap your customer journey to get in front of the right crowd. 

Review this journey monthly and anticipate change, and it will change. Keep in mind, you’re building relationships, and they take time, effort, and a little empathy along the way. 

Time to pivot?

Have you noticed a shift in your buyer journey? Are you noticing different user habits?

It may be time to pivot your targeting strategy.

Referring back to the previous example of restaurant accounting software — are there really many buyers in that industry during the shutdown? Probably not.

That doesn’t mean you cannot still market to them.

But for productivity companies like Slack and Zoom – how do you pivot?

It is all about maximizing your ability to target your total addressable market. Reach as many people that are looking for the solution your product provides, at the lowest possible cost.

The key, however, is to remain empathetic. For example, Zoom switched their messaging to “In this together.” They add clean messaging, that is empathetic, and right to the point.

Customer journey map examples

_Source:_ NGDATA
_Source:_ Columbia Road
_Source:_ Edrawsoft

The path toward ROI  

Customer journey mapping can take some time, yes, but pinpointing exactly what type of advertisements will reach and resonate with your customer can influence your ability to generate leads, improve sales, and advance brand equity. 

Especially with the change in the current environment, it is important to maximize your ability to effectively market to your customers. You want to ensure that your message is met at the right place and time, or else it can negatively impact your brand equity.

Having that deep of an understanding of your potential customers is invaluable.

What other organizational & research tactics do you use to improve your understanding of your target audience? Share your favorite PPC methods, or let us know if you have any questions.

This article is a guest post by a representative from one of Optmyzr’s customers. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Optmyzr and its employees.

PPC Automation Is Alive And Well. Are You Missing An Opportunity?

Are you wasting time working on tasks that could be automated?

That’s the exact question I asked myself several years ago, before making the switch from a manual account management process to an automated one.

Conversion Hut is slightly different to most marketing agencies. We only focus on two areas – PPC Ads and Conversion Rate Optimization.

Our agency has a diverse portfolio of clients and before moving to a more automated business model, our clients were more than happy with the consistent performance improvements that they were receiving.

However, where we were running into difficulty was when we were trying to focus more on the overall strategy for the accounts. Including testing new types of campaigns as well as consistent landing page testing and optimization.

All of this just wasn’t possible in the time allotted for every client, each month.

I looked at the client schedules and could see the amount of time being used was primarily the housekeeping tasks rather than tasks which could provide real growth.

My theory was that by reducing the amount of time we spent on general tasks by replacing it with automation, we could then spend more time focusing on the big shiny things.

So in true Conversion Hut style, we thought “Let’s test it”.

Let’s test switching to a predominantly automated PPC management agency which would allow us to spend more time on aspects that were really going to move the needle and less time on things that could be done with little human interaction.

If we could save time and still maintain our high quality standards, this would be a win for us.

What Happened Next?

To be quite honest, it transformed our company.

Tasks that would usually take a few hours each day, were instead done in minutes.

And instead of spending less time on things like strategy and conversion rate optimization, we were now spending the majority of our time doing them.

The Current Situation

At the moment there seems to be people on two sides of the fence when it comes to automation.

People that prefer to do everything manually, because they don’t want to lose any control. And then there’s the people that harness the power of automation and understand that you’re still in full control.

Our tool of choice for our PPC automation is Optmyzr.

We’re fully aware that there are plenty of tools available on the market that offer a similar service. But for us, Optmyzr does everything we could possibly want it to and more.

In this blog post i’m going to cover some of the different tasks that we automate and how our company benefits as a result.

The topics that we will cover are as follows :

  1. Keyword Bidding
  2. New Keywords
  3. Ad Testing
  4. Bid Modifications
  5. Shopping Campaigns

Keyword Bidding

Bidding effectively is the holy grail of PPC management.

It can really make or break a campaigns performance.

However, it’s extremely time consuming as well as requiring to be done regularly. In some cases, even daily.

Because of this, it can take up the majority of time that account managers have.

Which is more than likely why a lot of the agencies out there have opted for using one of Google’s automated bidding strategies for their clients.

For most of our clients, we can’t see the same performance improvement that we can by doing keyword bidding manually, which is why we haven’t gone down that path.

The automated bidding tool that we use can adjust bids for thousands of keywords in seconds. And unlike Google’s technology, we’re actually defining the rules that the bids are set to.

So for our ecommerce clients we can define an ROAS that we want to try and meet from each keyword.

We can also set those rules on a product basis if we like. So if one group of keywords needs a target ROAS that’s higher or lower, we can customise our bids accordingly.

Alternatively, for lead generation and SAAS companies we can adjust bids based on a target CPA that we’re trying to hit.

An example ‘recipe’.

We can also specify the amount of conversions a keyword must have before we make a change as well as making sure the keyword bid hasn’t been adjusted in a certain time period (i.e. 7 days).

There’s one more really important capability that was a game changer for us.

The lookback window.

We can set multiple lookback date ranges for each rule that we create, so that we can find out when keywords met a predefined rule.

For instance, we may adjust the date range from 7 day, 14 day, 30 day, 60 day and so on, until it matches our rule.

Once it does, that’s the data it uses to adjust the bid.

For one person to do this manually, would almost certainly be a full time job for some accounts.

As i’m sure you can see already, automated bidding can save hours of manual work.

But that hasn’t scratched the service of what automation can do just yet.

New Keywords

Any account manager knows that adding new keywords is a basic part of PPC management.

By continuously adding new relevant keywords to an account, it will help increase traffic and sales.

The downside is that it takes time to do. Quite a bit of time for most accounts.

Here’s the usual manual process for adding new keywords :

  1. Load up the search terms report for the last 30 days.
  2. Look for keywords which have driven clicks.
  3. If a search term looks like a good addition, add it to a list to include.
  4. Once complete, add the new keywords including each match type to the relevant adgroups.
  5. For those keywords which require their own adgroups, create a new adgroup.
  6. Add keywords and different match types.
  7. Create new ads
  8. If there isn’t a relevant landing page, create one.
  9. Publish.

Woah.

Looking back at it now, that’s a lengthy process and i can’t believe we used to spend all that time doing it!

What Happens Now?

Now we can pre-define criteria for new keywords that we want to add to an account.

We may say that we require a minimum number of clicks, impressions, conversions or quality score before we decide to include it in a campaign.

We’ll then see a list of suggestions to include and we can pick and choose what we would like to go with.

We can quickly duplicate the keyword and adjust the matchtype so we have various versions. We then click the add button and they’re added to our adgroups.

What about if we need to create a new adgroup?

That’s no problem either, we can specify that the new keywords need to go into their own single adgroup and it will create them automatically.

This also includes pulling the ads in from the adgroup where their clicks came from.

Ad Testing

Nothing can improve the performance of a PPC campaign more than consistent Ad testing.

Although working your way through each campaign regularly to weed out the under-performers and highflyers is fairly time consuming.

Previously we used to this with the use of a script that would tell us when an ad became the “winner” based on a limited amount of settings that we could define.

I think the term to refer to that process was it was ‘fine’. It kind of did what we wanted it to do, with some customisation.

How Our Ad Testing Looks Like Now

Within Optmyzr we can quickly jump into the A/B testing for Ads report and see if there are any ad tests that have reached statistical significance.

We can choose the date ranges to look at as well as them ad performance from specific campaigns.

We can even select the test result confidence level that we want for an ad to be a statistically significant winner.

We can also set the amount of impressions an ad must have before even including it in the analysis.

Additionally, we can choose whether we want to set a winner based on Conversions, Conversions by Impressions or CTR.

We can quickly see how ads KPI’s are performing

Because of this, our ad testing has moved up to a whole new level.

We easily save at least 4 hours of PPC management for each client per month from this feature alone.

And because we’re applying the criteria before calling something a winner, it’s far more accurate (in my opinion) than doing this manually.

Where this tool really comes into its own is when it comes to pausing the losing ads.

When we’re ready to pause an ad, we can also create a new ad at the same time.

But that’s not all.

The feature will also tell us the best performing copy from historical data, to use on each of the various Ad elements.

Next Steps

Right now we’re testing using a new feature in Optmyzr which allows us to quickly analyse and compare the ad performance data based on the various ad components (Headlines 1,2,3 + Descriptions 1,2 etc).

This works great for big accounts that have lots of adgroups but don’t necessarily receive lots of clicks. Where reaching any conclusions from the data would take a long time to do.

Our account managers can now quickly see how specific copy is performing across all campaigns or individual campaigns. We can even segment by device to see how the performance changes between them.

This works brilliant for us.  

When working with medium to large accounts, this process takes a huge amount of time to do. Now we can see this data in seconds.

Bid Modifications

Since bid modifications were introduced, they’ve really helped make optimization more granular.

However to do this effectively, we previously needed to work our way through each of our clients campaigns and make the adjustments manually where we thought we could improve performance.

Since moving to Optmyzr, we’ve definitely streamlined this process and picked out some of their best features to make this happen.

We use their suite of tools that are made to assist with Bid Modifiers, in particular for Geo, Device and Audiences.

The method we use is called Intelligent Suggest, which from the name you’ll probably be able to gather that it gives you the recommended modifications based on your goals.

It uses machine learning to provide the suggestions, which includes an array of different factors.

We can then see a predicted performance improvement if the changes that are suggested are applied to the campaigns.

Each of the different modifications that can be made, can be broken down further to be more granular.

So rather than just adjust Device bids at the campaign level, we can adjust them at the adgroup level instead.

We can see each of the proposed changes to made and make our own changes should we wish.

To compile and apply this data would take hours for a human to do, but using automation, it’s done and applied within seconds. The only time involved is clarifying the changes that are being made.

Shopping Campaigns

Google Shopping Campaigns are huge at the moment and there’s no sign of them slowing down.  With new features being released frequently, it’s a great time to be using them.

However, when it comes to Google Shopping Campaign Optimization, there’s a huge amount of factors that are involved to not only setup a campaign effectively, but then turning those campaigns into revenue generating machines.

By default, Shopping Campaigns load of all of the products from the product feed into a single product group.

But this isn’t the best way of implementing a shopping campaign, as you’re effectively bidding the same on all products.

So for instance, you could have a product with a retail price fo $500 and that would have the same bid as a product with a retail price of $10.

Implementing campaigns like this is unlikely going to get the results that we want.

When it comes to the shopping campaigns we create, we always apply the One Product Adgroup method.

What’s involved here is creating an individual adgroup for each of our products that are in our product feed.

That way we have much more control over not only our bids, but our bid modifications too (as well as many others).

Prior to using Optmyzr, we used to do it all manually with the help of excel.

To say it was time consuming would be an understatement.

Using Optmyzr, we can quickly build campaigns based on our product feeds in seconds.

We can choose if we want to build the product groups based on a number of different attributes including :

What Optmyzr helps us do is take the time out of creating campaigns and give us more time to manage them strategically.

There’s also some additional tools that they offer to help with managing the campaigns.

The Biggest Mistakes Made With Automation

We asked Fred Vallaeys, Cofounding CEO of Optmyzer what he thought the biggest mistakes people make when moving to automated PPC management :

  1. Automations still need to be monitored. I.e. Do NOT set-it-and-forget-it. For example, a Google Ads script authorization could expire which means it stops running. Now that automated script that you thought would prevent you from spending more than the client’s budget isn’t actually running and you miss the budget.

  2. Automations require reliable inputs. For example, if you have automated bidding but your web server goes down and clicks are leading to a 404 page where no conversions are possible, it will start to reduce bids, perhaps so low that you no longer qualify for page 1. Then when the server is fixed, ads linger on page 2 and your conversions aren’t restored.

  3. Automations need complete instructions. For example, if you tell a bid system to maximize conversions but you set no bounds on maximum CPA, it can buy some very expensive conversions. If you don’t distinguish between different types of conversions, some of which are more valuable, it may buy too many of the low value conversions.

The Robots Do As We Say Not The Other Way Round

As i’m sure you’ll agree with what we have covered in this article, automation isn’t just about giving full control to the robots and letting them go and do as they please.

We still have the final say over what happens in our accounts. Any changes that are made, we can decide whether to make them or not.

As well as that, the room for error in the changes that we do is so much lower than if it were to be doing them manually. Humans being humans, can have off-days and make errors in the optimization that they are doing.

Agencies seem to be fairly divided when it comes to used automated tools or not.

We think it’s a no-brainer for allowing our campaign managers to spend less time on the housekeeping and more time on the big-wins for our clients.

I think main question here is what would you rather, a campaign manager that’s snowed under doing day to day tasks with no time to spend on growing clients accounts?

Or a campaign manager that has a surplus of time, that they can use to focus on making more money for them?

PPC automation is being adopted by successful agencies across the world in some shape or form. So this isn’t really a question about if you’re going to use it. It’s about when you’re going to start using it.

I really hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to the benefits of PPC automation and been able to see the amount of time that it can save as well as the improvement in performance.

I’d love to hear your experience with PPC Automation. Please feel free to reach out with your comments or questions.

Chatbots as a Conversion Rate Optimization Tool

Chatbots as a Conversion Rate Optimization Tool

There are two dimensions to optimizing a PPC campaign.

  1. The first has to do with all the factors leading up to a prospect clicking on your Ad. In this phase of an Ad’s lifespan, you can optimize things like Ad copy, targeting, keywords etc, to make sure your Ad reaches the right people and induces them to click.
  2. The second phase, one which I have found to be less spoken about, is everything that happens after a prospect clicks. Post-click optimization is the process of increasing the percentage of site visitors that convert into leads (i.e. give their email, schedule an appointment share their phone number, sign up for a newsletter etc.). The process can take many forms, but has a single underlying focus : reducing friction. Put simply, if it is hard or unpleasant for a prospect to give the necessary info to generate a lead (i.e. high friction) then it will increase the likelihood of them dropping and tank your conversion rate. On the flipside, if it is easy or enjoyable for a prospect to advance the lead generation process (i.e. low friction), drop rates reduce and conversion rates increase.

Traditionally, attempts to reduce friction have been iterative improvements on existing web design and technical improvements to improve page performance. Reducing � form length, makes the lead capture process shorter; AMP pages reduce load time; and usability testing tells you whether individual components of your landing page are hindering your prospects from completing the lead generation process.

A new trend in the marketing space however, threatens to upend this status quo. Chatbot marketing is� red hot because chatbots offer a radically different way to address queries and collect lead information, making for a unique post-click experience.� This article is a primer on the technology, explaining what chatbots are in a PPC context, where they can help reduce friction and perhaps more importantly, where they could increase friction and hinder your PPC efforts.

What is a Chatbot?

Chatbots are fully automated pieces of software that facilitates a trade of products, services or information through a conversation.The best way to understand how chatbots can function in the context of your PPC campaign’s post-click experience is to look at them as a middle ground between click-to call and landing pages. They are wholly automated, live on a webpage and require an on-screen interaction much like landing pages. However, the conversational nature of the interaction more closely mimics the feel of a click-to-call experience. Implementation-wise, I have found that there are two primary means of deployment. Either as a chatbot landing page, like this:

Or as a widget on a traditional landing page like this:

Where should you use Chatbots in PPC Campaigns?

I have found that chatbots work best for B2C lead generation use cases, where prospects have little expertise but absolutely need the product or services they are buying (e.g. insurance, mortgage, real estate, healthcare, education). Chatbots in such contexts offer the same benefits � as click-to-call campaigns. Since users have little knowledge about the product they are buying (e.g. very few people are insurance experts), they appreciate a guided interaction with an agent� (virtual or human) who knows better than they do. The conversation reduces friction in the buying process, killing uncertainty.

A good way to understand this is by looking at the pitfalls of a traditional landing page alternative. If someone landed on an insurance landing page and wanted to figure out which policy they should buy, they’d likely have to go to a text-laden information page (e.g. an FAQ) or search for content which clarifies their doubts. This is a considerable amount of added friction to the lead generation process. It adds a step and more significantly it presents information all in one go on a single page making for a boring at best and intimidating at worst experience for an uninformed prospect. Chatbots and click-to-call campaigns fix this problem by taking the opposite approach. Since information is exchanged between a prospect and an agent through a conversation, it is presented in byte-sized chunks that are easily digestible. Prospects, through their input can control what they see next. This piece-by-piece approach also means that the information presented is extremely focused on a specific aspect, thus avoiding the risk of information-overload. I like to compare this to the experience one has in an Apple Store.

When you walk into an Apple Store, there is always a knowledgeable sales rep waiting to greet you, figure out your needs, and guide you to the product that fits those needs. The great thing about these sales reps is that they cut through a lot of the fancy specs which mean little to uninformed customers and tell customers exactly what they need to know about their future phone or laptop in a way that is accessible and human. Similarly, chatbots can offer prospects a direct answer to their product-related queries without presenting them with a text-heavy, terminology ridden, FAQ or testimonial page which could increase friction by intimidating them.

Additionally, it is worth noting that chatbots offer a significant advantage over click-to-call campaigns. Phone campaigns require human agents to function. This means high labor costs, long wait times, cumbersome IVRS qualification systems� and long stretches of downtime outside of working hours. Or in other words, considerable friction. Since chatbots are automated, they can handle almost infinite conversations simultaneously, regardless of the time of day.

Where you shouldn’t use them?

The assisted buying experience of a chatbot does not help in all PPC use cases. In fact in some use cases it might even hurt! When users have a high amount of information (e.g. e-commerce or B2B marketing software) about what they are buying, they do not need reassurance or assistance while making the purchase. In fact they often prefer dense pages that can provide as much information as possible. Such pages are amenable for deep dives into specifications and feature comparison which are key to the buying process. � I find that when I am buying software for my marketing stack for example that I like to open several tabs, comparing the minute details of several competing products. In such a scenario, having to interact with a bot to release information piece-by-piece is a hindrance. To extend the analogy of the Apple store further, imagine if every time you walked into Trader Joe’s there was a sales rep asking you what exact groceries you want and making their suggestions about what you should buy.

I� personally would find it far more annoying than picking up what I want on my own.

The Upshot

There is a lot of hype surrounding chatbots in the digital marketing space. As with most fads, some of this hype is warranted. Chatbots are a great alternative to both click-to-call (cost-wise) and landing pages (UX wise) in those buying interactions where prospects want to be assisted or have low information. They present information in a conversational way, cutting down on the overload that often accompanies traditional landing pages, without incurring the additional labor costs of a click-to-call page. On the flipside, lost in the buzz are the very real limitations of the tool. When prospects are decently knowledgeable about the product they are buying however, the back-and-forth nature of a chat interaction increases the friction associated with a conversion because it makes detailed examination of a product harder. Put simply, chatbots are like any other CRO tool. If used correctly, they can reduce friction dramatically and drop your CPA. If used incorrectly, however, the opposite occurs and your PPC campaign suffers.

5 Simple Ways To Increase Your Quality Score

Quality score is like an onion, or a parfait if you’re Donkey from Shrek, because well, everybody likes a parfait.� Whether you prefer one analogy or the other, there’s always more to your quality score than meets the eye. On the surface, we all know what quality score is and why it’s important. So, why don’t we pay more attention to it? Most likely because it’s easy to see a 1-10 score and take it at face value. That’s merely the first layer, however, it’s beneficial to dig deeper and do more. Sure, we may tweak our campaigns a bit to increase quality score but how many of us are familiar with what it takes to truly improve the quality score? Moreover, why is quality score so important?

Like much of Google (search algorithm anybody?) the available information is somewhat vague about how a quality score number is achieved.

This is how Google defines it:

Quality Score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. Higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions.

Google goes on to tell us that the 3 components of the quality score are:

Yes, that’s a bit oversimplified, but it does give us a place to start. First off, we know that quality score is important because a better score can lead to higher ad ranks and lower per click costs. Who doesn’t want that?

To confuse matters more, Google then goes on to tell us that the 1-10 quality score given, which is just an aggregated estimate, isn’t even used at the time of the auction to determine ad rank. Why? Because it is� just an estimate after all.

What do they use then? I’ll let Google tell you:

Real-time, auction-specific quality calculations of expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience are used to calculate Ad Rank at auction time. These factors, which are based on things known only at the time of the auction, can heavily influence the quality of the user’s experience.

So, while we may not know the exact score at the time of each auction, we do have a pretty good idea of the quality by looking at the quality score we do have. Yes, I agree, it would be better to have a deeper level of insight into why your score may not be where you want it but Google has, in recent weeks, added more to the standard 1-10 quality score.

If you haven’t noticed it yet you can now also see

You also have access to a history for each keyword that will let you know if you’ve improved or not. While it is nice that these are now available, seeing only average, above average and below average can you leave you wanting but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

This is why we’ve been using Optmyzr’s Quality Score Tracker. Not only does it show us the data that Adwords gives us for quality score, it goes above and beyond with great visuals while also aggregating account, campaign, and ad group quality score data. No need for me to go into the differences here, Frederick Vallaeys has already done that by giving us Five Ways That Optmyzr Tracks Quality Score that AdWords Can’t.

Why Is Quality Score Important?

As previously stated, a good quality score can lower cost per click while increasing your ad rank. The reason is simple: relevance. For example, Google doesn’t want to serve up an ad for string cheese to someone searching for a 2017 Toyota Tacoma. They also don’t want keywords that match an ad landing on a page that’s about something else entirely.

As such, Google will reward you by multiplying your cost per click by your quality score in order to determine your ad rank. What that means is you can spend less per click than your competitor and outrank them.

Yes, this is an oversimplification of why quality score is important but I’m ready to move on to the meat and potatoes of this post. Don’t worry though, I’d never leave you hanging. Here is a video by the chief economist over at Google, Hal Varian, titled Insight on the Adwords Auction.

#1 Use Optmyzr’s Quality Score Tracker

That’s not to say that you can’t use what Google gives you, but our team uses Optmyzr to track our quality scores. Why? Because when you have as many accounts as we do (I work for an digital ad agency) with dozens of campaigns, ad groups, ads and keywords in play at the same time, we need all the help we can get in order to quickly pinpoint the areas we need to focus on the most.

We’ve worked the Quality Score Tracker into our daily process and our clients are way better off because of it. We’ve also learned that this is a great tool to show clients. Granted, there is some debate out there about whether quality score is a good metric to show a client or not but with the way we do things, it’s great. We like to teach our clients because we believe that a learned client is a lifelong client and, as long as they understand what kind of return on ad spend (ROAS) they are getting, one who understands the benefits of larger paid search budgets

Below is a real screen-shot of a dealership client of ours:

Right off the bat we can see where the issue is. Overall, the account quality score is good at a 7.7 but as we all know, there’s always room for improvement.� That red circle on the top left stands out, doesn’t it?

Clicking into it we can see the offending ad group in addition to the offending keywords. We can even see the quality score over time. Below where it says Daily Trend (bottom of image) there is a line graph that tells you exactly when the quality score dipped. Armed with that knowledge, I’m able to go into AdWords and see that the ad was wrong. While the ad had been changed to include the year of the vehicle, the keywords for this particular ad group didn’t include that information. Since the keywords being bid on didn’t match the ad and, of course, the landing page when the ad was clicked on didn’t match the ad, the quality score went down.

This took just a few minutes to find and then correct.

#2 Use Long Tail Keywords – Expected CTR Quality & Ad Relevance

Competitive keywords can be difficult to manage in both organic and paid search, especially in the more competitive industries, which is why you should always be picky about the keywords you use. With long-tail keywords you can be more specific and specificity equals a higher conversion rate, less cost per click and a higher expected click through rate.

If you really want to take the whole superhuman CTR thing to the next level then think about using single keyword ad groups (SKAGs). True, these may take a bit more work to implement but your CTR will thank you. There are more than a few reasons why you’d want to take a closer look at SKAGs and I encourage you to if you aren’t familiar with them or haven’t tried them yet. One of the main reasons why SKAGs work so well is because they are so very relevant. Using SKAGs you can ensure that every keyword used (don’t forget about long-tail here) is in the ad copy of the ad.

Yes, you can use dynamic keyword insertion for this, but for more flexibility, try SKAGs.

Negative keywords are your friends. For some reason negative keywords are easy to overlook, but they should be paid close attention. The search term report will show you the holes that need to be plugged. Plug them, but keep checking back to make sure another leak hasn’t sprung.

#3 Use EVERY Ad Extension Possible – Expected CTR Quality & Ad Relevance

I see a lot of accounts once we take them over from another agency and it always confuses me as to why more ad extensions aren’t used. Not only do they give your ad more bling, they also take up more space (this is really good on mobile), increase relevancy and drive up the click through rate.

I understand that not all ad extensions will be relevant in every case, but use all that make sense. Yes, some are more time consuming than others but the more you use the better your ads will perform.

Take a look at the price extension. Can you use it? Then do it. It takes up a ton of space on mobile and can really drive your competitors down. Recently, Google announced that price extensions are now available on all devices. Again, they take up a lot of space and, on desktop, look really cool. Need more of that bling I mentioned earlier? Well, here you go.

Also, make sure that you’re at least using location extensions (if you have a physical location), call extensions, structured snippets, site links, call outs and the message extension. Sound like a lot? This is just the tip of the extension iceberg, make sure to use as many as you can. When it comes to extensions, remember that more specific is better. What I mean by that is that you can add account level extensions but you’ll see better success if you narrow it down to the campaign level or, better yet, the ad group level. Just remember to keep your eye on the prize, a better quality score.

#4 Ongoing Ad Optimization– Expected CTR Quality & Ad Relevance

One ad per ad group isn’t enough, neither are two. Google recommends at least 3 per ad group. The best way to get the best performing ads is by doing A/B split testing, even if you are using SKAGs. Also, think about copywriting and how you can turn a boring ad into a more compelling ad that invites a click.

The best way to ensure that your ads are highly targeted is to always write each one from scratch. Never stagnate, always try to beat your best performing ads by writing even more compelling copy for the next ad. If you have long-tail keywords going to a highly converting ad then you are well on your way to increasing your click through rate and your ad relevance.

#5 Take a Long Hard Look at Your Landing Pages – Landing Page Experience

You wouldn’t send an ad about toothpaste to a page selling candy would you? Rhetorical question, but sometimes it takes an absurd question to drive a point home. My point is that you should be as obsessed with making your landing page match the ad as you are about the ad matching the keyword. That’s a great start but you need to go further than that.

First, make sure that the landing page looks just as good on mobile as it does on desktop. Pay close attention to the speed of the page because Google has gone on record as saying� that 53% of smartphone users will abandon a web page if the site takes more than 3 seconds to load. 3 Seconds! Couple that with a recent study that shows we have an average attention span of just 8 seconds� (1 second less than a goldfish) and you have a recipie for disaster if you aren’t careful.

While I won’t be going into depth about landing pages in this post I think it’s important to ensure that your landing page has a call to action. What’s a call to action? Anything that gets people to act on whatever it is that you want them to do. It can be a lead form submission, a download, a phone call or even watching a video. Whatever it is it has to be very easy to do. Making people jump through hoops won’t lead to conversion. Having said that, if it’s not feasible to put the final call to action on the actual landing page, then you must make sure that your site is easy to navigate with a clear path to your desired conversion. Take a long hard look at your landing page data and pay particular attention to what is happen in analytics. Are they converting? Are they following the path you’ve laid out for them? If not, why not? Take a look at the data from both the desktop and mobile perspective, is anything off? If so, fix it.

Don’t Stop There

Keep optimizing. Don’t let your account, or your client’s account, slowly die. Stay active, make adjustments regularly and become obsessed with raising the bar. Never stop until the bar is as high as it can possibly go. � There has been a lot of talk over the years, even research done on the importance of account activity. So, stay active my friends.

Optmyzr Case Study: An AdWords Management Game Changer

According to Merriam-Webster, a game changer is “a newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way.” � And I can assure you, Optmyzr has been a game changing force in my business life.

 

I manage AdWords campaigns for a living, and when I say I manage AdWords campaigns, _I manage AdWords campaigns_, and a lot of them. � I’m in AdWords 60+ hours a week managing a large number of campaigns for a large number of clients. � I’ve worked very hard to do a great job managing these campaigns for my clients, and I’ve worked very hard to build my reputation as an honest, hard-working, and professional operator. � And it turns out that when you skillfully provide a trade or service, and do it in an honest and professional way, new business will stampede your way and you’ll quickly find yourself to be very busy.

 

And in June of 2016, that’s the situation I found myself in. � I was very busy managing lots of AdWords campaigns, but I still had new clients wanting to hire me. � Initially this was a very stressful situation. � I was just about out of working hours each week, but I still had people wanting to hire me. � So I felt like I was leaving opportunities on the table. � But at the same time, I wanted to keep my current clients happy and continue to provide great AdWords management services for them.

 

So what was a young, driven, (and some would say) good looking lad to do? � There was only one answer.

 

Increase efficiency.

 

I knew that if I could get the same weekly AdWords management tasks done in a smaller amount of time each week, then I could keep doing a great job for my current clients while freeing up more time to bring on new clients and grow my business. � So I knew that efficiency was the _only_ way to grow my business.

 

Initially I thought _hmmmmm, this will be easy. � I’ll just use AdWords scripts and save myself a bunch of time_. � But then, after spending an hour or so trying to learn scripts, I was coldly reminded that I don’t really know anything about scripts or writing software, and that trying to learn that stuff would take a ton of time… and remember the problem in the first place… I HAD NO TIME LEFT IN MY WEEK!!!

 

Enter Optmyzr

 

Once I realized learning scripts and writing my own software was too big of a learning curve, I thought to myself, _let’s look for an AdWords management software_. � I Googled “AdWords management software,” and that’s when I found Optmyzr. � It was love at first sight.

 

Why I Gave Optmyzr a Try

 

I immediately liked two things about Optmyzr. � The first thing I noticed is that two of the co-founders of Optmyzr had worked at Google. � And that one of the co-founders, Frederick, had been one of the first 500 employees at Google and had spent “10 years building AdWords.” � What more can you as for in terms of being credible? � These guys were building AdWords when I was looking for a prom date.

 

And the second reason why I gave Optmyzr a try is because they made it easy for me to give them a try! � They offer a free trial and you don’t have to enter a credit card. � This made it very easy for me to say, _okay let’s try it out_.

 

Why Optmyzr Works

 

Optmyzr works great for two reasons. � One, it makes me more efficient at Google AdWords management. � And two, it makes me _better_ at Google AdWords management.

 

The reason I started looking for an AdWords management software is because I needed to free up more time each week so I could take on more clients, but I didn’t want to sacrifice management quality. So again, efficiency was the only answer.

 

And Optmyzr helps me be more efficient. � I can do almost all of the weekly AdWords management tasks I like do right from inside Optmyzr, and the efficiency is tremendous. � I’ll cover a specific example below, but just so you know, with Optmyzr you can add new, relevant keywords from the search terms report, you can smartly manage bids, you can A/B test ads, and you can find negative keywords from the search terms report… and you can do this all from inside the Optmyzr dashboard. � You can also do a ton of other stuff too, including quality score analysis, report generation, removing duplicate keywords, and on and on. � There’s so much you can do inside of Optmyzr, and it’s so much faster than manually doing these tasks in AdWords. � Optmyzr makes me a much more efficient AdWords manager.

 

The second reason why Optmyzr works so great is because not only does it make me a more efficient AdWords manager, it makes me a _better_ and _more-effective _AdWords manager. � Optmyzr’s software helps me see things I can’t see with just the human eye. �

 

For example, in the A/B testing tool for ads, it shows you clear winning and losing ads in Ad Groups where the confidence level is 90%, 95%, or 99% depending on your preference. �

 

How do I know what the confidence level is when manually managing ads without Optmyzr? � I don’t. � I don’t have the statistical skill set or time to determine confidence levels when I judge ad performance manually. � But Optmyzr’s software does. � Optmyzr can examine the data, and find ad groups where the confidence level is high enough to warrant pausing a poor-performing ad. � And it does this in an instant. � Being able to access and analyze data that I could not realistically come up with on my own is why Optmyzr not only makes me a more efficient AdWords manager, but also a _better_ AdWords manager. � And this A/B ad testing tool is just one of the many ways Optmyzr makes me better at my job.

 

And while we’re speaking about the A/B ad testing tool. � Let me cover another game-changing feature of Optmyzr. � In the A/B ad testing tool, not only can you find and pause poor-performing ads that need to be paused, you can also quickly create new ads to test the existing winning ad against. � And when I say quickly, I mean _quickly_. � Creating new test ads is one of the most important but also one of the most time-consuming aspects of AdWords management, but with Optmyzr’s fast _copy the winning ad and edit this new test ad_ tool it’s both fast and easy. � And again, this is just one of the many great features of Optmyzr.

 

Excellent Customer Service

 

One of the coolest aspects of Optmyzr is the excellent customer service they provide. � I have an issue, then fix it. � I have a question, they answer it. � Optmyzr’s people go above and beyond to not only answer questions about their software, but they actually will take customer feedback and make improvements to their software based on customer suggestions.

 

It’s clear that Optmyzr’s people _get_ Google AdWords. � They know what it’s like to manage Google AdWords campaigns and they make solutions that are perfect for AdWords managers. � And beyond that, they deliver those solutions with some of the best customer service I’ve ever seen.

 

Good For One or Many Accounts

 

I think Optmyzr is a great solution for AdWords management, regardless of whether you’re just managing your company’s one AdWords account, or if you’re an AdWords management agency managing many client accounts.


The solutions Optmyzr offers will work great for one account and for many accounts.

 

I strongly encourage anyone managing an AdWords account to give Optmyzr a try. � And if you’re managing many accounts, I think it’s a must-have.

 

Optmyzr is an ever-growing tool that has many cool features. � A lot of Optmyzr’s tools are very intuitive if you’ve been managing AdWords campaigns, and you can start using them right off the bat. � But I also encourage you to take some time to read through Optmyzr’s documentation to learn about _all_ of the cool features they have because this tool really can do a ton of stuff, and I’m using more and more of its features every week.

 

Good Luck

 

Providing a service in the tech-advertising world can be a scary career choice. � There is _constant_ innovation and change. � If you don’t keep up, your business will die. � A business dying is a very sad thing. � And I try to avoid sad things.

 

Optmyzr has been a game-changer for me. � It’s helped my business grow, innovate, and not only get more efficient, but also get better at providing AdWords management services.

 

As someone who lives in AdWords every week, I can _strongly_ recommend Optmyzr for all AdWords advertisers. � It will make you more efficient and help you get better performance.

 

Note from Optmyzr: Thanks Jason and Rothman PPC for sharing your story! If anyone else wants to share their success story about using Optmyzr and have it published on our blog, please get in touch with us.

Top 9 Costly AdWords Mistakes to Avoid

This is a guest post written by Phil Frost, Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil will be presenting a webinar, “How to Improve Adwords Profits With Proper Conversion Tracking” on October, 5th at 12:00PM EST. Click here to register.

 

Google AdWords is the sports car of online marketing. It’s fast, intuitive and draws a lot of attention. When firing on all cylinders, there’s really nothing like it.

 

Neglect or disrespect it, though, and your campaigns can quickly lose traction.

 

A number of issues can stall your AdWords efforts. Some issues are easily fixable, while others require a closer look under the hood. Here we’ll review nine common problems that keep advertisers’ campaigns out of the fast lane.

 

Mistake #1: Targeting Both Networks at Once

AdWords is powered by Google’s massive search and display networks, connecting businesses with endless scores of potential customers. The Search Network includes Google.com and partners such as Ask.com and AOL.com. The Display Network encompasses websites such as YouTube, Gmail and Blogger as well as millions of other websites, blogs, and apps.

 

Unfortunately, AdWords urges advertisers to run their campaigns on both networks. This is problematic because Web users on each network behave entirely different. People on the Search Network are usually shopping or doing research, while folks on the Display Network are often just surfing the Web. Different approaches are required to market toward each group.

 

Don’t follow Google’s advice here. Instead, create separate campaigns for each network. You’ll see the payoff when optimizing for better results.

 

Mistake #2: Using the Wrong Keyword Settings

Are you getting tons of clicks but few conversions? Or is your campaign getting a high volume of impressions with very low CTRs? If so, check to make sure you’re not using broad-match keywords.

 

Broad-match keywords are undesirable because they’re far less likely to send relevant traffic to your website. Even if those uninterested users don’t click on your ad, you could still end up paying if low CTRs drag down your quality scores. You’ll get less traffic from phrase- and exact-match keywords, but you’ll also get better CTRs and landing page conversions, and your quality scores won’t suffer.

 

Mistake #3: Ignoring Negative Keywords

Negative keywords can stop your ads from being shown to completely irrelevant users, boosting your CTRs and conversions. However, many advertisers completely overlook them. Always, always, always set negative keywords when building your campaigns.

 

An example of a negative keyword: If you owned a barber shop, then you’d want to set variations of “dog,” “cat” and “pet” as negative keywords. Otherwise, you’ll be inundated with traffic from people seeking haircuts for their four-legged friends.

 

Mistake #4: Not Using AdWords Conversion Tracking

AdWords Conversion Tracking helps you understand what happens after Web users click on your ads. Do they respond to your landing page by calling your business, downloading apps or making online purchases? Do they click around your site or bounce without taking any meaningful actions? This information is absolutely essential when optimizing for better performance.

 

Installing AdWords Conversion Tracking is fairly simple, though you might need help from a Web developer. You need to add a snippet of code to your website and/or mobile app. You can also use a Google forwarding number to track phone calls resulting from website visits.

 

Mistake #5: Not Linking Your AdWords Account to Google Analytics

Google Analytics provides you with data you can’t get within AdWords alone. With Google Analytics, you can run various reports to get detailed information about your campaigns, ad groups, ads, keywords and traffic sources. It’s free and easy to set up, although you’ll need to install code throughout your website.

 

Mistake #6: No Separation of Mobile and Desktop Traffic

More people view the Internet now using smartphones and tablets than desktop PCs. And while online shoppers share similar motivations, key differences in the mobile and desktop experiences mean people behave differently when using their smartphones. For advertisers, that means remembering that campaigns optimized for desktop users probably won’t appeal as much to smartphone users, and vice versa.

 

The easy mistake here is setting up your campaigns to run across all devices. Instead, create separate campaigns for mobile and desktop users. Also, make sure your mobile campaigns are using responsive landing pages that display properly in smartphone Web browsers. Don’t even think about campaigns for mobile traffic if your website isn’t optimized for mobile viewing.

 

Mistake #7: Ads Lack Important Keywords

Writing compelling ad copy is anything but an exact science. However, an easy way to attract eyeballs is to include your best keyword terms in your ads. People are more likely to click your ad if it literally contains what they’re looking for.

 

As your campaigns pick up steam, you’ll eventually learn which of your keywords drive the most high-quality traffic to your ads and landing pages. Use this information to build new ads and ad groups around your top-performing keywords.

 

Mistake #8: Incongruent Landing Pages

Does your landing page deliver on the promises you make in your ad copy? If not, there’s a good chance people are bouncing as soon as they hit your landing page.

 

Make sure that whatever you claim in your ad copy is clearly represented on your landing page. If your ad offers free shipping, then your landing page should have information about your free shipping policy.

 

When advertising a sale, your landing page should prominently feature the sale event or items. Nothing sinks conversions faster than incongruent landing pages. And you definitely don’t want to draw complaints about using bait-and-switch tactics.

 

Mistake #9: Refusal to Seek Help

Anyone is capable of cultivating AdWords campaigns that help their bottom lines. However, it’s common for marketers and business owners to plateau or experience diminishing returns. Sometimes, seeking help from a knowledgeable third party is the key to further progress.

 

That said, don’t be too quick to hand over the keys to your AdWords account. The more you learn about AdWords, the more you’ll know whether your account is in good hands with a third-party professional.

 

Conclusion

Google AdWords is as powerful a vehicle as you’ll find in online marketing, but you won’t get far without knowing which features can help your campaigns. It’s easy to get in the driver’s seat and launch a few campaigns, but there aren’t any shortcuts to long-term success.

 

Fortunately, using AdWords is much less risky than driving a high-powered sports car. You just need to know the rules of the road.

 

Want more tips to improve your AdWords performance? � Click here to Get your free copy of our Ultimate Google AdWords Checklist.

 

What You Need to Know About A/B Split Testing in AdWords Using Optmyzr

I spend a lot of time talking and writing about the more humanistic elements of advertising; how to appeal to your audience in a unique and personal way, how to create a genuine connection with your visitors and so on and so forth. In our experience, there’s a lot to be said for these sorts of unquantifiable things that often get overlooked amongst the maelstrom of statistical analysis and data crunching.

Often times we need to make a judgment call that accounts for both our intuition and the immutable data our campaigns accrue.

That being said there are times when it’s important to sublimate our instinctual emotions and optimize our campaigns within the ruthlessly unforgiving framework of our historical data.

A/B split testing ad copy is one these instances.

Few, if any, of the standard optimization techniques we SEMs use will yield as consistent and predictable results as A/B split testing our ad copy. We can peel and stick keywords into new ad groups, restructure our account to work on our Quality Scores, readjust our custom bidding schedule with the hope of increasing our conversion rates – but they’re all inherently unpredictable to a certain extent. A/B split testing ad copy, when done right, will guarantee that your KPI of choice will increase (however incrementally) over time.

However, there are some important things to understand about A/B split testing ad copy that will spell the difference between your tests’ success or failure.

SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS IN ADWORDS

Optmyzr provides by far the most advanced and efficient A/B split testing tools available to agencies and individual advertisers, but you need to make sure your AdWords campaigns are configured in a way that will help you run your split tests appropriately from within the Optmyzr dashboard.

By default, AdWords will optimize your ad rotation based on the ads expected to get the most clicks. This is great – if you’re lazy 🙂

If Google rotates your ads based on the ads expected to get the most clicks, you’ll generally see one or two of the ads in a given ad group getting the lion’s share of impressions and clicks. Naturally.

A/B split testing is all about getting statistically significant data across all the ads involved in any given test, so the first thing you need to do is change the ad rotation settings to rotate evenly. AdWords offers the option to rotate evenly for 90 days and then optimize, but since we’re going to be A/B split testing long after 90 days (right!?) we want to choose the “rotate indefinitely” option.

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You can change this setting in the campaign setting tab. Keep in mind, since this is a setting modified at the campaign level, it will apply the rotation setting to all the ad groups in the campaign.

DEVELOPING YOUR A/B SPLIT TESTS

Now that we’ve configured our ads to rotate evenly, we need to figure out what to test and how to test it. Based on how much data your account is generating you’re going to have to decide what type of split test you want to run.

People often confuse technical terminology, so we’ll begin by defining the difference between a multivariate (full factorial) test and an A/B test.

A/B split tests are the easiest to run and unless your landing pages are getting high volumes of daily traffic, an A/B split test is the method of choice (in my opinion at least). � While many people think that A/B split testing is strictly for testing one individual variable, that’s not really the case. You can run 2 completely different ads against each other (or 3 or 4 for that matter), with different headlines, description text and display URLs, and still call it an A/B split test.

If you’re just measuring which ad performed the best, and not which individual variable performed the best, it’s an A/B test.

A multivariate test is when you seek to learn which individual variable performed the best. In other words, if you were testing 4 different variables (headline, description line 1, description line 2 and display URL), you would need to write 16 different ads (all possible combinations) in order to see which combination of variables worked the best. For most accounts, multivariate tests sound great in theory but don’t work so effectively in practice. In order to determine a winning ad, you need statistically significant data. Most accounts aren’t getting the kind of volume to make multivariate tests worth the time and effort.

So for our sake, let’s go back and talk a little more about A/B split tests.

I strongly recommend running single variable A/B split tests whenever possible (and let’s face it … it’s always possible). When you run 2 ads alongside each other testing just one variable, you know what element in the ad accounted for the better (or worse) performance.

For example, say you decided to run an A/B test on 2 different ad headline ideas. You’re a high end self-publishing company and you thought it may be a good idea to include your minimum order price in your ad headline to help dissuade people looking for cheap solutions from clicking on your ad. So you write two identical ads and only change the ad headline in one of them to include your minimum order price. When the statistically significant (more on that soon) results are in, you’ll know beyond the shadow of a doubt that it was the change in the ad headline that accounted for the difference in performance.

If for example you also changed the description lines of the ad to something other than the identical copy of the other ad in the ad group, you won’t know if it was the headline or the description or a combination of the two that accounted for the difference in performance.

Like we said, that would still be considered a valid A/B split test since we know one of the ads statistically outperformed the other ad, but we won’t know exactly which element of the ad should get the credit.

That being said, there are times a multivariable A/B split test is really useful. If you’re running a new ad group and you have two completely separate ideas that are thematically dissimilar, running two completely separate ads in an A/B test to determine which direction you should take for future tests could be a really useful strategy to use.

Let’s go back to our previous example of your high-end self-publishing company. You’re not sure whether highlighting the speed and quality of your service or the professionalism and experience of your editorial staff would make for a better ad. These are two separate ideas, and with the allotted ad space you can’t cover both aspects of the business. In this case, it may be a good idea to run a multivariable A/B test with one ad focusing primarily on the speed and quality and another ad focusing primarily on the editorial staff. You’re not testing any one variable like a headline, but rather a concept as a whole. Once your test determines which ad is more appealing (based on the KPI you choose to measure by – more on that soon) you can then dive into single variable A/B tests to further refine your copy and consistently increase performance.

For the sake of not getting stuck in a rut of stagnation and complacency, it’s always a good idea to periodically test new multivariable “concept” ads to try and find new ideas that you haven’t explored in the past.

Now that we know the sort of test we want to run, what do we actually test? You’ll probably get five different answers to this question if you ask five different people, so I’ll just tell you what we’ve found from the hundreds of accounts we’ve managed over the past few years.

Start with A/B testing ad headlines. When testing one variable like a headline, I generally aim to write four variations – which of course would give us four separate ads in an ad group. If you’re getting fewer than 75-100 clicks daily for any given ad group, consider writing 2-3 ads instead.

Your headline is not only the first element of your ad read by a user; it is often the only part of the ad that gets attention. If someone sees an ad headline they really like, they’ll often click the ad without reading the rest of what you have to say for yourself. Conversely, if the headline turns them off or isn’t precisely what they’re looking for, they’ll likely pass you on and move to the next ad on the page.

There’s a lot of information to swallow on a search engine results page, and people just don’t have the time or mental fortitude to read and analyze every line of every ad and organic result. It’s not something we advertisers like (after putting so much work into every character of our precious ads) but it’s the cold reality we have to eventually come to terms with.� So in fewer words, test your headlines first. I hope most people would agree with that.

Following our logic, test your description lines of text next. Whether you test one line at a time or both lines of description text in one shot depends on your preference and the type of ad you’re writing (is there a distinct thought on each line or are both lines one long message?).

It’s a good idea to test your display URLs since the historical CTR of your display URLs plays a role in your Quality Score. Don’t expect to see dramatic results from an A/B test on display URLs (if there’s one part of your ad someone won’t read, it is the display URL), but test them anyway for the sake of Quality Score and for the sake of doing your job right.

What specifically to test is a longer discussion for another time but I try to always think of the products and services we’re advertising more in the context of their emotional benefits to the customer and less in the context of their features. Nobody buys a vacuum because they want a vacuum; they buy a vacuum because they want a clean room. We’ve seen some extraordinary A/B test results testing features VS. benefits (“bag-less and compact!” VS. � “a home as clean as you after a long hot shower!”), and in almost every case, highlighting benefits and emotional payoffs always produce better results.

Also consider the idea of what I like to call qualifiers. Qualifying your clicks by including prices in your ads is one way of dissuading undesirable clicks from people whose traffic you don’t want to pay for.

A/B testing landing pages is also something that is highly effective, but with the advent of complex A/B landing page tools and software it has become an industry unto itself and need not conflict with your ad copy A/B split tests.

I’d be remiss to not mention the idea of testing your call to action. Of course, you have a call to action (right!?), and it’s a great idea to test different CTA’s to see which ones capture the attention of your audience the most effectively.

Now that we know how and what to test, let’s take a look at how we measure and define the results of our tests.

STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE

If we didn’t have a tool like Optmyzr, the next few paragraphs would probably (definitely) bore you half to death. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather watch paint dry than talk, write or listen to anything that had to do with coefficients, correlations and the holy grail of statistical measurements – p values.

Luckily for all of us, Optmyzr does all that work for us. But just for the sake of our intellectual well-being, a quick word on p values.

In a statistical test, a p value tells us how significant, or scientifically interesting, our results are. We may find that headline A had a higher CTR than headline B, but how confident can we be that we’d see the same results if we ran the same test again? And again after that?

Our p values (also referred to as our confidence interval) tell us how confident we can be that we’d see the same results repeated, or in other words how reliable our findings were. � A p value is just a number outputted by the statistical equations used to calculate the correlation between our variables, and depending on the field of study, different p values represent different thresholds of acceptability.

In the medical profession, when the results of a test can quite literally inform a surgeon on a life and death decision, a p value of less than .01 is required to determine reliability. For AdWords, a slightly less precarious area of study, we could assume that a p value of less than .05 is perfectly acceptable. In fact, in the social sciences p<.05 is the benchmark for reliability.

At this point you’re probably thinking if you never hear the words p value again it would be too soon. Amen to that, brother. I promise, it’s going to be lots of colorful pictures from here on out.

Since this isn’t a beginner’s Optmyzr tutorial, I’m going to assume basic working knowledge of the Optmyzr dashboard.

So we’ve configured and launched our split test, and now we want to see if we have enough statistically significant data to pick our winners.

 

Navigate over to the A/B testing for ads under the one click optimizations dropdown in Optmyzr.

Before we analyze our results, we’ll want to take a look at the settings Optmyzr allows us to configure.

Remember p values? That’s what OPTMYZR is referring to with Required Confidence. � By default it’s set to 95% (p<.05) and that’s a good place for it to stay. You can also filter your results by Ad Type, Network, Minimum Impressions Per Ad and the Date Range.

The important option to look at here is the Parameter options list. As you can see from the first image, Optmyzr sets our parameter to CTR by default. This means that the statistical analysis will look at CTR as our key performance indicator of choice to determine the winning ad. As you can see from the green and red highlights in the CTR column, CTR is the metric being “studied” in this test.

You can also choose to run the A/B test results using conversion rate and conversions per impression as your metric of choice.

In order to determine which parameter you should use depends on the strategy behind the ad groups you’re testing ads in. If you’re running a broader, loosely targeted campaign to drive traffic to your site so you could build your remarketing audiences or your brand awareness, CTR may very well be the metric of choice for you. If your campaign is designed to drive profit and a positive ROI, then you may want to analyze your ad performance in the context of conversion rate.

Because the campaign we’re looking at here is a branding campaign, I care primarily about visitors to the site – so I’ll keep CTR as our metric of choice.

So for this A/B test we’re testing two different headlines. Based on a confidence level of 95%, Optmyzr outputs a winning ad using CTR as our metric of choice.

But can you spot something wrong?

The winning ad has a much higher volume of clicks and impressions as the losing ad. This is because the ads in this ad group were not set to rotate indefinitely and Google was giving preference to the ad expected to get more clicks. While the test results are still statistically significant, we want our data to be more equal when it comes to the volume of clicks and impressions.

Let’s hop over to another account to see what a proper A/B test should look like.

 

In this example, we ran a multivariable A/B test on two different overall ad concepts. Even though the winning ad still has quite a few more clicks than the loser, the losing ad has enough volume to lend real validity to the results of this test.

Notice another thing. Even though my parameter of choice over here is still CTR, Optmyzr graciously lets us know if another one of the metrics also matches up with statistical significance at our desired confidence interval. In this example, the winning ad also has a statistically significant higher Conversion per Impression rate than the losing ad. Good to know!

If you run into instances when one ad wins on CTR but loses on conversion rate, you need to seriously think about the campaign strategy and decide which metric to base your optimizations off of.

IF YOU HAVEN’T FALLEN IN LOVE WITH OPTMYZR, YOU WILL NOW.

Not only does Optmyzr make it incredibly easy (and a little fun) to run AB split tests results across an entire account in one shot, Optmyzr also allows you to pause the losing ads from each split test with the click of a button.

 

By default, Optmyzr selects all the losing ads across all the ad groups and A/B tests that had statistically significant results within your defined parameters.

If you’re satisfied with the results, you can click the blue “Pause Selected Ads” button in the upper right hand corner and the losing ads will be paused inside your live AdWords account. Seriously, how cool is that?

But now that you’ve paused one of the ads, you want to write a new ad in its place so you could run another A/B test. Optmyzr has another incredibly useful tool that allows you to do just that without leaving the dashboard.

By clicking the “Create Ad” button in the upper right hand corner of an ad group’s section, Optmyzr presents you with a dialogue box that will allow you write a new ad and publish it live in the ad group you selected. Even cooler, Optmyzr gives you suggestions for each element of the text ad based on results from historical data and previous A/B tests run in the account.

As you can see, OPTMYZR offers a completely thorough solution to do A/B split testing in an easy, aesthetically simple and intuitive way.

The best way to get a sense of how it works is to just go in there and mess around with the different parameters. Once you get the hang of it, running what would otherwise have been complex analysis will take you a couple minutes.

CONCLUSION

A/B split testing ad copy gets overlooked even though it’s one of the most reliable and effective forms of optimization. Because of its inherent complexities and ambiguities, we sort of just gloss over it picking and choosing winning ad copy based more on our intuition than on statistically sound results.

Optmyzr’s A/B split testing tool really changes that for a lot of people by simplifying a complex task and making it incredibly easy and hassle-free to perform regularly and effectively.

Even though we rely heavily on statistical evidence with A/B tests, it’s crucial to express your creative voice and use your intuitive sense to determine what, where and how to test. By combining your unique personality and some good statistical analysis, you’ll be A/B testing like a pro.

Again, it’s easy to get complacent in a certain holding pattern with A/B tests, so remind yourself once every couple months (or weeks) to go back to the drawing board and test some new “concept” ads.

If you have any interesting data on A/B tests you’ve run in the past, I’d love to hear about them. Of course, any comments or questions are more than welcome (leave them below), and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

If you’ve made it all the way down here, I really appreciate you taking the time to read this post. Looking forward to next time …

Happy Testing!

Learn more about how I manage AdWords accounts at� Adventure PPC.